Navy Displays Patriotic Colors In the Heart of Texas
(March 24, 2011)
|AUSTIN, Texas (NNS - 3/21/2011) -- Sailors unfurled their patriotic colors in Austin, Texas, with the March 19 launch of Austin Navy Week.|
|Musician 1st Class Kenneth Ray Horton, accompanied by the University of Texas NROTC Color Guard, kicked off a round-up of activities with an adaptation of the national anthem prior to the Longhorns' come-from-behind victory over Kansas State at Disch-Falk Field. |
"It was beautiful," said Dennis Kerry, a long-time Longhorns fan. "I really respect the courage these guys have to represent our country in wartime and in peacetime."
Another Longhorns fan, Janice Scott said she felt it was incredibly important to have the Navy in Austin and in Texas.
"I want people to know that we support our men and women in the armed forces. It's a salute to those in uniform giving service to the honor of America," she said, emotional while remembering the dishonor Vietnam veterans experienced when they returned.
"It's very important," Scott added.
Navy ROTC Midshipmen from the University of Texas Austin present the colors during a pre-game ceremony as part of Austin Navy Week as the Longhorns host Kansas State on March 19, 2011. Navy Weeks are designed to showcase the investment Americans have made in their Navy as global force for good and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st class Ruben Perez
|"I thought the color guard was pretty neat," said 10-year-old Jacob Thomas, tossing a baseball in his lap as he spoke. "They represent the United States and I like the U.S. The military keeps us safe."|
Texas Governor Rick Perry gave Sailors a warm welcome to the capitol city.
"The U.S. Navy inspires great pride in the hearts of Americans," he wrote. "First Lady Anita Perry and I join you in honoring the U.S. Navy and celebrating the U.S. Navy's ongoing close relationship with the State of Texas."
The Lonestar State share a long and unique history with the U.S. Navy – Texas had two navies prior to the establishment of the U.S. Navy. In 1836, under the provisional Republic of Texas government, a fleet of four ships were purchased using private funds. That first fleet was abandoned when repairs became too costly.
In 1839 a second Navy was created with the commissioning of one steamship that grew into a fleet of four ships the following year. Again, a lack of financing, plus a series of misadventures resulted in the ships' transfer to the U.S. Navy and decommissioning of the fledgling Texian Navy.
Also during that first day of Austin Navy Week, members of the U.S. Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs, guided blue and gold parachutes down to the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo grounds while opening a giant U.S. and Texas flags mid-air.
After jumping, the Leap Frogs mingled with cowboys and cowgirls, signing posters and sharing stories of their service for the Navy.
"It was motivating. Seeing them jump out of a plane with an American flag and the Texas flag makes you kind of wish you were attached to them and up in the air," said Eric Santateresa, who was having a poster signed for his son Alex.
"It's important for our freedom to have these guys here doing what they do," said Paul Armstrong.
The U.S. Navy Band Country Current, a country-bluegrass group and the Navy's premier country music ensemble, performed an original set of tunes during a free performance at Momo's for the South by Southwest Music Festival in downtown Austin, closing out the inaugural day of Austin Navy Week.
The week long schedule of events includes more performances by the Leap Frogs and Country Current, plus civic, corporate and educational engagements with Hon. Juan M. Garcia III, assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
Sailors from USS Constitution, the Navy's oldest commissioned warship, will visit various schools to give students an interactive, hands-on experience of Navy history.
Other events include a mayoral proclamation at City Hall, Sailors lending a hand to the community at Caritas of Austin Soup Kitchen, and Navy SEALs (Sea, Air Land) challenging youth with a variety of physical exercises.
Austin Navy Week activities will engage, inform and enhance understanding about the investment Americans make in the Navy's capabilities and the kinds of career opportunities available.
|By Navy CMCS L.A. Shively|
Navy Office of Community Outreach
Reprinted from Navy News Service
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