Beyond Writing, Recent Experiences

Inaugural Coast Guard Festival

Happy (day after) Fourth of July!

I spent my Independence Day celebrating with the City of Alameda, California. This year, for the first time ever, the United States Coast Guard partnered with the city to bring the inaugural Coast Guard Festival to Alameda Point near the USS HORNET. A significant number of Coast Guard men and women participated to help bring the festival to life. Some of us marched in the parade, some of us acted as security, and some of us helped set up and take down the event venues. As a person who loves history, I volunteered my time to bring the Coast Guard’s story to our visitors.

I arrived to the USS HORNET at about 7:30 in the morning. Since we anticipated a Coast Guard helicopter to land by 8:30, we could not set up our large tent. Helicopters tend to create wind – lots of wind – and the last thing we wanted was for our tent to fly away! Once it landed, however, it was game on!

Our Historical Committee members worked diligently to set up the venue. We had a large number of artifacts covering more than a century of history so were very careful to handle everything gingerly. We had models of cutters, century-old ship compasses, old cutter lights, and numerous paintings and photographs. I provided a one-page History of Coast Guard Island. The document was an abbreviated version of the Coast Guard tour guide I wrote at the end of last year. You can read it here: The Official Tour Guide to Coast Guard Island.

Throughout the entire day, we had countless visitors stopping by to learn more about the Coast Guard. I was amazed at how many people had no idea there was Coast Guard in Alameda and even more amazed to learn that these folks didn’t know what the Coast Guard did.

I did my best to educate them.

The Inaugural Coast Guard Festival began to close down by 5 p.m. I was sunburned and tired but definitely felt like my time was well-spent. I had met many interesting people and had some very interesting conversations.

I’ll be in Massachusetts for the second annual Coast Guard Festival but I’m certain it will be even better than the first.

Thanks to everyone for supporting the Coast Guard and recognizing the value it brings to American history!

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