Walk of Coast Guard History
Friday, August 2nd, NOON Grand Haven City Hall
Each year the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival recognizes a point of Coast Guard history and a more local or regional point to add to the streets of COAST GUARD CITY, U.S.A. in the “Walk of Coast Guard History”.
The Walk of Coast Guard History was started in 2006 when two "Points of Coast Guard History" were designed, prepared, and installed in the walkway at the approach to Grand Haven City Hall. The concept for this new event was quite simple, integrating the long and prestigious history of the United States Coast Guard in Grand Haven and around the world, with the celebration of the men and women of the United States Coast Guard.
The Points of History are chosen by the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival and submitted for approval to the City of Grand Haven. Once approved, the plaques are prepared (generously sponsored for years by locally owned and operated DAKE Corporation, a JSJ company) in brass, and a 15 inch Coast Guard seal is added over the engraved point.
The City of Grand Haven prepares the setting and installs the newest points on the sidewalks of Coast Guard City, U.S.A.
This year, 2013, we are recognizing and celebrating the music of the Coast Guard.
On September 6th, 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band became officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization.
After having learned how to play the bagpipes, U. S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Kevin Gilheany decided to share his passion of the pipes by soliciting other members, active and retired, of the U.S. Coast Guard to come together in Grand Haven, Michigan, for the 2002 Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival. Ten pipers arrived to share their talents and time at the National Coast Guard Memorial Service playing the service anthem “Semper Paratus” and then marching in the Grand Parade on the next day. Today this 60 member, all volunteer pipe band travels from their homes all across the country to play at events from National Memorial Services to private Coast Guard functions.
First organized in March 1925, the U.S. Coast Guard Band was legislatively recognized by President L.B. Johnson in 1965 as the permanent, official musical representative of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The United States Coast Guard Band is the premier band representing the United States Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. Based at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the 55 member band appears at presidential and cabinet level functions on formal and informal occasions. The band was organized in March, 1925, with the assistance of Lt. Charles Benter, leader of the U.S. Navy Band, Dr. Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and “American March King” John Phillip Sousa, former director of the United States Marine Band. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed congressional legislation resulting in the Coast Guard Band becoming the permanent, official musical representative of the nation’s oldest continuous seagoing service.
Composed in 1981 by U.S. Coast Guard Band Director Lewis J. Buckley, “COAST GUARD CITY, USA” became the official march of the GH Coast Guard Festival.
Lewis J. Buckley, a native of Florida, earned his undergraduate degree from the prestigious Eastman School of Music and his Master’s Degree from Connecticut College. While at Eastman, he studied conducting and composition and earned the Performer’s Certificate for outstanding performance on the trumpet.
Enlisting in the Coast Guard in 1969, Buckley served as Principal Trumpet and Soloist for six years and then became the Coast Guard Band’s fifth director at age 27, a post he held for over 29 years, serving longer as the conductor of one band than any other conductor in the history of American military music! It was during his tenure as the Director of the Coast Guard Band, when he composed “COAST GUARD CITY, USA”, the official march of the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival.