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Fleet Week welcomes American heroes to city

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 6/14/2011, 1:43 p.m.
Thousands of military personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marines took a bite...
Fleet Week welcomes American heroes to city

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Fleet Week welcomes American heroes to city

Thousands of military personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Marines took a bite of the Big Apple during the 24th annual Fleet Week. In exchange, civilians got the opportunity explore the world of America's military sea services by touring military vessels and attending air shows and other demonstrations during the Memorial Day weekend.

Kicking off on May 25, Fleet Week wrapped up on Wednesday. Last week, the USS New York led the Parade of Ships as Navy and Coast Guard vessels rolled into the city. A portion of the USS New York is made from steel from the World Trade Center. Ships available for public tours included the USS Iwo Jima, the USS Carr and the USCGC Willow, which were accessible from Manhattan and Staten Island.

"I can't think of anything else I'd rather do," said Petty Officer First Class Cory Lewis, a mass communications specialist for the Navy. "I just thought coming to the Navy was a good choice. My uncle was in the Navy, so he led me into it."

On Friday, sailors, marines and coast guardsmen gathered in Times Square to display weapons, military dogs and martial arts demonstrations. The Navy Northeast Jazz Ensemble and U.S. Marine Corps Band also performed.

"I wanted to join the Navy and make a difference. My family was surprised when I joined. I'm really enjoying my time in New York." said Camilla Lem, an interior communications electrician in the Navy.

Several events scheduled on Memorial Day included a holiday ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and a meet and greet with military personnel at the Children's Museum of Manhattan.