When Marine Week marches into Nashville in September, as many as 700 servicemen and women will descend on Music City to accomplish a three-pronged mission.
“We focus on three things: our community, our country and our Corps,” Marine Corps spokeswoman Lauren Schulz said.
Marine Week, set for Sept. 7-11, is the Corps’ longstanding community outreach initiative that tours new cities each year. More than 100 activities and events are planned for the four days, including visits to local hospitals and schools. There will also be community service projects and patriotic concerts.
So why Nashville in 2016?
“We seek out cities that would be good venues to host these types of events in an area of the country where exposure to the Marine Corps is limited since our major installations are primarily located in the coastal areas of Southern California and North Carolina,” Schulz said.
During the four-day exposure, Schulz said, Nashville residents can expect the Marines to come to them. Marine Week encourages one-on-one interactions between community members and the men and women who are fighting for our country.
Some 500 to 700 Marines are expected to participate in events that showcase who they are and what they do for America.
While the Corps doesn’t track the economic impact on each city that hosts Marine Week, Corps officials do gauge whether or not their troops carry out their mission.
“We come to a city and work with the mayor's office and the visitor's bureau and ask them what we can do to make a positive impression in that particular city,” Schulz said.
Since this year’s visit is to Music City, several Marine Corps bands will perform during the week. Nashvillians can see Marine rock band and jazz ensembles as well as the larger ceremonial band and performances from the iconic Silent Drill Platoon around the city.
Also on the program list is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force demonstration, a live simulation of how the Marines would operate in a combat zone. Areas will be set up to view the Osprey military aircraft as well.
For those who really want a challenge, the Marines will offer some physical training sessions, too.
Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, told Crain’s Nashville that his organization is “extremely proud” to bring the prestigious event to town.
“On every level this is a testament to the appeal of the city and a great honor,” he said.
Spyridon expects at least 500 hotel rooms to be booked up by Marines.
But the real impact, he said, “will be in the experience they will offer our visitors and locals, and the sense of pride they will emanate that comes with this event. In this day and time in the world, that is more important than ever.”