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Letter: Buffalo Navy Week was a great success

Buffalo Navy Week?was a great success

From Sept. 10-17, the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park had the distinct privilege to host the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy for Buffalo Navy Week. One of the most highly anticipated events of 2012, this was the first time the Navy's ships had visited the Great Lakes since 1999 and the first time a Navy Week had come to Buffalo. For two years, the Naval & Military Park worked in partnership with dozens of municipal, state, federal and provincial agencies, plus a legion of volunteers from the United States and Canada, to bring this unique and spectacular event to town.

This very diverse and dedicated binational team can be proud of its effort, for it proved what remarkable collaboration is possible on the Niagara Frontier. It is estimated that up to 100,000 people came to Canalside to see the visiting ships, talk with the sailors and learn more about the armed forces. Tens of thousands more experienced Buffalo Navy Week across the region, with an estimated 10,000 visitors coming from out of town - filling local hotels, restaurants and other cultural attractions. The Navy should be proud of its extensive outreach, for it seemed it was everywhere conducting demonstrations, performing concerts or doing public service for the community.

As the culmination of this year's bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812 and the "Star Spangled Banner," Buffalo Navy Week was an important opportunity to salute the men and women in uniform throughout history who have defended our cherished freedoms. Buffalo once again lived up to being the City of Good Neighbors and its two bordering nations once again provided an example of diplomatic relations for the rest of the world to follow.

As the region's premier resource for military history, the historic anchor of Buffalo's Canalside and the largest permanent tribute to veterans of its kind in the United States, the Naval & Military Park was honored to help bring Buffalo Navy Week here. We hope the worthy mission accomplished this month is only a prelude to future bicentennial collaborations over the next two years.

Donald A. Alessi

Chairman, Naval & Military

Park Board of Directors