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City of Los Angeles Celebrates Memorial Day during Annual Fleet Week

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The City of Los Angeles Fleet Week Foundation held its annual LA Fleet Week to honor veterans and military personnel for their service from May 24-29.

LA Fleet Week is the largest Memorial Day event in Southern California. The free event aims to honor and celebrate the service and contribution of the United States Sea Services, including the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps.

LA City Councilmember Tim McOsker provided an introduction to LA Fleet Week and described the importance of the event, as reported by FOX LA.

“Whether it’s a domestic emergency or a global disaster, our sea service members [are] always there to provide humanitarian efforts, relief and protection to the most vulnerable,” McOsker stated. “LA Fleet Week gives Angelenos the opportunity to thank our sea service members for all the critical work that they do to keep the world safe.”

Fleet Week featured a combination of different events held in cities across Southern California. Events included neighborhood activations including musical shows, movies and music festivals held from May 24-27. The week also had the Fleet Week Expo, which was open to the public from May 26-29. Throughout Fleet Week, public ship tours, aircraft demonstrations and live performances by Navy and Marine Corps service members were held for the community.

The Fleet Week Expo was located in San Pedro at the LA Waterfront plaza. Crowds at the event created a line over half a mile in length at the main entrance point. Shuttle buses at the LA Waterfront carried the visitors to the expo site. 

On the plaza, civilian attendees were invited to board armored vehicles and helicopters. Attendees also attempted to carry displayed guns with the assistance of on-site military volunteers.

The U.S. Navy also invited Fleet Week Expo attendees to tour three naval ships: the USS Cincinnati, USS Princeton and a Whidbey Island ship, according to FOX LA.

Aircrafts from the U.S. Air Force crossed the sky above the EXPO area in an air show performance. Attendees stopped to watch the planes, some waved to them. 

The Battleship Iowa Museum, located next to the expo site, offered attendees the chance to tour the Battleship USS Iowa. Crowds lined up to enter the museum. 

The expo also offered attendees food and drink options. Over 10 food trucks served a variety of cuisines, from Mexican tacos to Thai fried rice, near the stage. Vicky Dog, a hot dog truck at the entrance of the Battleship Iowa Museum, closed early after selling out of food.

UC Irvine student Caleb Wensloff attended the Fleet Week Expo and described the significance of building connections with military staff.

“I had fun,” Wensloff said. “I feel it is important to connect civilians with the military staff, so we can have the image of them as human like us — which opens the way for a better understanding across communities.”

The expo was also attended by protestors. Around 20 protesters gathered near the entrance to the main expo on May 29, holding signs reading “Stop Glorifying Guns.” 

“Go in there now, so they can draft your child and get them to hunt down my machine guns in the Middle East,” one protester said to passersby.

LA Fleet Week closed with ceremonies in honor of Memorial Day, including a parade at the expo site and a flag retreat ceremony in Disneyland.

Deng Liu is a City News Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. He can be reached at