The Lake Forest High School Boosters will host “Naval Station Great Lakes Appreciation Day,” also known as “Navy Night,” at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6 on Varsity Field before the football game between Lake Forest and Grant high schools.
In addition to traditional LFHS football festivities, the Navy Night celebration will feature special recognition of Naval Station Great Lakes and its personnel in a pre-game ceremony and throughout the game, including a ceremonial coin toss by Commanding Officer Captain William Bulis, a performance by Navy Band Great Lakes and presentation of the colors by Lake Forest American Legion Post 264.
The LFHS Marching Band will join Navy Band Great Lakes for a special musical tribute and in the playing of the National Anthem. The performance will be punctuated by a special military flyover, courtesy of the “Wings Over Waukegan 2013” air show.
Naval Station Great Lakes personnel will receive free admission to the varsity game, which will begin at 7:30 p.m.
“The Boosters are honored to pay tribute to the men and women who train at Naval Station Great Lakes and who serve our country throughout the world,” said Steve Reimer, president of the LFHS Boosters. “It is a privilege to share this memorable evening with our students, our community, and Great Lakes.”
From its founding in 1911, Naval Station Great Lakes has maintained its position as the Navy's largest training facility, and hosts the Navy's only Recruit Training Command. Each year approximately 40,000 men and women complete the requirements to become enlisted sailors at the Navy's only boot camp.
Naval Station Great Lakes is also home to the Navy's technical training schools for surface warfare excellence at Training Support Center Great Lakes. Yearly, more than 14,000 students attend these initial and advanced training schools where they learn the basic skills of their Navy jobs.
“We are pleased and proud to host ‘Navy Night’ in honor of our neighbor, Naval Station Great Lakes,” said Michael Simeck, superintendent of schools for Lake Forest school districts 67 and 115. “We thank the Naval Station's leaders, Sailors and Navy Band Great Lakes for joining us for this regional celebration of their work on our behalf. Our appreciation extends particularly to the commitment and service from Naval personnel, and also to the ‘Wings Over Waukegan’ air show pilots and crew for their planned flyover, a stirring symbol of the Naval Station's commitment to the communities it serves and protects.”
The “Wings Over Waukegan” air show will take place the following day, Sept. 7, at the Waukegan Airport.
The importance of Great Lakes as the “Quarterdeck of Navy” is well known, but the Naval Station also has a rich heritage in sports, music and diversity.
The Great Lakes Bluejackets played an intercollegiate football schedule from the 1910s to the 1940s, and were a Midwest college football powerhouse with players like George Halas, Johnny Lujack and Otto Graham. The team's accomplishments included a 1919 Rose Bowl victory and a 1943 victory against an undefeated Notre Dame squad ranked No. 1 in the country.
Great Lakes’ musical heritage will also be featured in the “Navy Night” festivities as LFHS welcomes Navy Band Great Lakes, whose music has represented the pride and professionalism that is synonymous with the United States Navy since the first bugler reported for duty in 1911.
World famous band leader and composer Lt. John Philip Sousa volunteered his services to the Navy when America entered the World War I, and became Bandmaster of Great Lakes. Sousa’s 321-member professional Great Lakes "Bluejacket Band" became the pride of the Navy and the United States, and was the most popular musical act in the world for decades.
This musical tradition endures, as Navy Band Great Lakes continues "Pride in Service" as a force for global good through community outreach, diversity, recruitment, and honoring those who serve.