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Friday, 11 September 2009 15:48

United States Coast Guards Celebrate 219th Birthday

Written by  Joshua T. Gillion
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The United States Coast Guards Turn 219 Years OldOn August 13th, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and the City of Clearwater helped the United States Coast Guard celebrate their 219th birthday. The festivities were held at Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, the largest and busiest Coast Guard air station in the country.

Coast Guard officers and men were joined by City and County officials, local business leaders, Navy League members and representatives from the US Naval Sea Cadet Corp and Boyscout Troop 422 from Dunedin, along with the general public. The event included presentations in honor of the Coast Guard from elected officials, the Cadets and the Scouts, and a presentation from the Coast Guard as well.

Clearwater Vice Mayor Paul Gibson read a proclamation on behalf of the City Council and Mayor Hibbard, enacting Coast Guard Day in Clearwater. The proclamation recognized the Coast Guard’s 75 years of service in Pinellas County, and that “with heroic valor, the 600 plus members of Air Station Clearwater continue to devote their lives to those in need at home and abroad.” The 13th was also declared Coast Guard Day by Pinellas County.

A touching presentation and memorial plaque were given by Dunedin’s Boyscout Troop 422, who’s scoutmaster vividl remembers three things, as he said, from his childhood on Clearwater Beach: “Pier 60, the Palm Pavilion, and the red Coast Guard helicopter flying over the water.”

Another common theme that evening was Clearwater’s hopes of official recognition as a Coast Guard Town. The case was presented convincingly, given the long-standing relationship between the Guard and the City. The Coast Guard came to the Pinellas County as Air Station St. Petersburg in 1934. However, having outgrown it, they moved to the present Air Station Clearwater in 1976, where they have earned distinction and numerous decorations for valor and service at home and abroad.

After the presentations, guests were invited for guided tours of the Air Station, giving them an opportunity to speak with the men and see the hangers and aircraft.

The public can still honor the occasion, and the Guard, by viewing Semper Paratus: An Exhibition of Artwork by Florida Coast Guard Artists, on display through October 30th at Clearwater Main Library.

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