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For 17 years, New York City has hosted Fleet Week, America’s Premier “thank you” to the brave men and women of the armed forces who serve our nation.  This year, Fleet Week is hosted by the Intrepid Foundation, the City of New York, The US Navy and the Fleet Week Executive Steering Committee.

Fleet Week will be held in New York City from May 26 – June 1, 2004.  Vessels from all over the world will visit New York Harbor for the celebration, and over 8,000 military personnel from all five branches of the Armed Forces will enjoy the excitement of the city. The celebration will open with the majestic “Parade of Ships” into the harbor followed by a series of events for the troops and the public, hosted at the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.  The Intrepid, an aircraft carrier, was in active service for 31 years, and since 1982 has functioned as a military museum permanently docked in New York Harbor.

A highlight of the week will be the Fleet Week Gala on Thursday evening May 27th. Members of the participating ships’ crews and friends of the Intrepid Foundation and Fleet Week will gather onboard for a formal dinner. Top military and government officials, as well as top business leaders from around the country, will be in attendance to pay tribute to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.  I am delighted that this year they will also recognize the vital role dogs play in the service of our country.

The American Kennel Club is honored to be a participant in the Gala and will present the City of New York with the original bronze DOGNY statue for permanent installation in the museum.  Having the symbol of our DOGNY program – “America’s Tribute to Search and Rescue Dogs” – displayed as part of the Intrepid Remembers 9.11 exhibit is only fitting, as the program was created to honor both the victims and rescuers of September 11.

At the same event, AKC will award a special Medal of Honor to this year’s Hero Dog Award honoree. The DOGNY Heroic Military Working Dog Award will be presented to a military dog and handler team who have distinguished themselves through exceptional service while deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. This team’s dedication, commitment to excellence and selfless service to the Armed Forces and the nation in support of the war on terrorism are an inspiration to us all and epitomize everything DOGNY was created to honor.

The AKC is privileged to be able to bestow this award on one of our nation’s top military working dog teams, and looks forward to seeing the DOGNY bronze as part of the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum’s permanent collection, where it will be viewed and appreciated by over 600,000 visitors annually.

We hope you’ll make the museum, especially the Intrepid Remembers 9.11 exhibit, including our country’s tribute to search and rescue, a destination on your next trip to New York City.


Ron Menaker