More than 750 Marines received a warm welcome in Public Square in downtown Cleveland during the opening ceremony of Marine Week Cleveland June 11.
All Marine Week events are free and open to the public. A schedule of events is located at www.marines.mil/marineweek.
Opening ceremony speakers included Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Brook Park Mayor Mark J. Elliott, Lt. Col. Michael P. Hubbard, the Inspector Instructor of the Marine Reserve 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, and Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commander of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North.
The weeklong event is a culmination of a yearlong planning process between the Marine Corps, local government and law enforcement agencies.
This, the fourth Marine Week, features demonstrations of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, Marine Corps military working dogs, Silent Drill Platoon and the Quantico Marine Band. Marines have also coordinated volunteer opportunities in the local community at recreation centers and veterans hospitals.
Additionally, Marine Week Cleveland serves to honor fallen service members through a Vietnam Wall replica at Voinovich Park and Ohio Flags of Honor Memorial, a tribute to the Ohio service members killed during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.
The week will culminate in an amphibious combat demonstration at Burke Lakefront Airport on Saturday and Sunday. This event will showcase the unique capabilities of the Marine Corps in air, on land and at sea.
Marine Week marks the second time Marines have invaded Cleveland. Previously, Marines invaded Edgewater Park on the shores of Lake Erie during a mock invasion in 1959. The current Marine Week Cleveland invasion expects to draw crowds of 75,000 people.
“Marine Week serves to bring the Marine Corps to the people,” said Hummer during his opening ceremony remarks. “Cleveland will be the best yet.”
Previous Marine Weeks were held at St. Louis, Boston and Chicago.
He also thanked the American people for their unwavering support for the Marine Corps as America’s expeditionary force in readiness.
Operating as a medium for teaching the public on the rich heritage and traditions of the Marine Corps, Marine Week Cleveland works to bring the Corps to the people.
Jeff White, a Marine veteran, brought his 7-year-old grandson to the event.
“It’s a nice day, and I wanted to bring my grandson to show him the history of the Marine Corps,” said White who spent two years respectively in Okinawa, Japan, and Camp LeJeune, N.C. “It’s good for the public and for downtown. It’s something I never got to see on the other side.”
Events like these encourage the public to gain a greater understanding of military service, White explained.
“It was a good experience,” White said regarding his time in the Corps. “You can’t explain it unless you’ve been there. I enjoyed my time.”
Pfc. Jason M. Pytel, an avionics technician with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., heard about the event and brought his parents to the opening ceremony while visiting home.
“It shows people what Marines and the military does,” said Pytel, a Cleveland native. “It’s not all combat. It’s an opportunity to get out in the community and give back.”
Ohio is home to approximately 9,370 active duty and reserve Marines currently serving stateside and overseas, to include those serving in combat operations in Afghanistan. Ohio is ranked fifth in the nation for recruiting Marines.
Cleveland is home to six recipients of the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.
Read more: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/89782/cleveland-taken-over-during-marine-week-cleveland-opening-ceremony#.T9dJpZ9YvIU#ixzz1xaUc6TO5