LOS ANGELES - Long lines and lots to see from the Navy, Marines, Army and the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday. Each section of the parking lot in front of the Battleship Iowa in San Pedro was broken up into different military services for Fleet Week.
Fleet Week used to be Labor Day Weekend, but after a two-year pandemic discontinuation it was moved to Memorial Day Weekend, "... to really capitalize upon when service members and the military are really in the minds of Los Angeles," according to Navy Spokesperson Ensign Pierson Hawkins.
Many at the Port of LA Sunday, including Sea Cadets and others, have a healthy appreciation for Memorial Day. A day some said is all about "remembering people who have died in service," "... who went through a lot to keep us safe," and who "... gave their lives for our country."
Marine First Lt. Colton Martin said, "I’ve had so many saying thank you for my service. It’s always genuine today, and it means a lot that the community of LA has come together and welcomed us so greatly."
Fleet Week is a chance to talk with active service members, get up close and personal with equipment they use and to see the inside of vehicles. It’s a chance for grownups and kids to lift a rocket launcher or sit in an Osprey.
Marine Sgt. Ricky Delatorre, who’s based at Camp Pendleton, even put on a bomb suit. It’s a bit bulky and heavy but, as he put it, "It just makes our job a little safer. It protects you from glass and frac in case something doesn’t go as planned."
Fleet Week is a lot like a military fair with a fleet of active military ships that have been deployed overseas docked in our outer harbor. Visitors to Fleet Week can also check out the three visiting ships.
By the end of Memorial Day weekend it’s expected that 63,000 people will have shown up here to check out all the things at Fleet Week. And, after talking with many it’s clear that there are so many people who have an appreciation for the military"
As one guest said, it’s an "... appreciation for all the soldiers... those who fought and have not returned."