Five days of festivities – part of Navy Week – are sponsored by a nonprofit coalition led by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. Activities include ship tours, technology displays, search and rescue and rifle drill team demonstrations, and daily performances by U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps bands.
“Because Detroit played such a key role in the War of 1812, we’re supporting these events at our beautiful headquarters on the Detroit River. We hope the community can come share our country’s history and thank our military men and women for their service,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet global marketing.
Detroit is one of several strategic port cities where War of 1812 bicentennial commemorations are taking place through 2015. Others include New York; Baltimore; Norfolk, Va.; New Orleans; Boston; Chicago and Cleveland. The war that saw the capture and return of Detroit and the eventual burning of the White House also inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner” – the American national anthem since 1931 – as Fort McHenry successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from a British naval attack in 1814.
GM’s Military Discount program will sponsor a free concert by country music artist Darryl Worley from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, on the RenCen plaza stage. Worley has performed for troops here and overseas. A 2002 visit to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Uzbekistan helped inspire his No. 1 hit “Have You Forgotten?” He has returned to perform for troops nine times since then.
Worley has been honored with the VFW's Americanism Award, the USO Merit Award and the U.S. Army Appreciation Award.
Before Worley takes the stage, the GM Foundation will present Operation Homefront with a $25,000 grant to help it provide emergency financial and other assistance to Michigan families of service members and wounded warriors.
All week, active, reserve and retired military members and spouses can learn more about GM’s military discounts and enter the Seize the Keys Camaro Sweepstakes. They and members of the public can be photographed with specially painted military vehicles and test-drive a new vehicle.
Free public tours of four Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships at the Renaissance Center, Port Authority and Nicholson Terminal include:
- US Brig Niagara: A Tall Ship replica of the original that played a decisive role in the Battle of Lake Erie (Renaissance Center)
- USS Hurricane: The third Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship, commissioned in 1993 (Port Authority)
- USCGC Katmai Bay: A 140-foot Bay-class icebreaking tug used for Homeland Security patrols and law enforcement (Port Authority)
- USS De Wert: A Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate named after Hospitalman Richard De Wert, posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism while serving with the 7th Marines during the Korean War. It was reported last year that the USS De Wert – during anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean – helped rescue the Italian vessel Montecristo from Somali pirates (Nicholson Terminal, with required shuttles from the Port Authority).
GM Showroom on the ground floor of the RenCen will feature a collection of vintage Corvettes honoring the iconic sports car’s 60th birthday. Other RenCen activities include:
- GM Wintergarden military technology display – including two flight simulators – designed to encourage students’ involvement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects
- Reproduction gun deck from a 1800s Coast Guard cutter, including a 200-pound replica cannon, surgical equipment, cooking supplies and navigation equipment. Coast Guard volunteers in period-style dress will answer visitors’ questions.
- SeaPerch, an underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and enter it into competitive SeaPerch Challenges
- Test-drives of 2013 model year cars, trucks and crossovers from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac
- Coast Guard demonstrations that include precision rifle drills and search-and-rescue operations (Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday, Sept. 8)