Figueroa-Levin: Wherefore art thou, Fleet Week?

Navy sailors walk on the flight deck of

Navy sailors walk on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum last year. (Getty) (Credit: Navy sailors walk on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum last year. (Getty))

Ah, Fleet Week. It's brought millions of dollars into our city with a fun tradition for service people and New Yorkers alike. The flood of good-looking people who serve the country pouring into our city is something I've always enjoyed.

I would never jeopardize my relationship with my husband because I have a thing for people in uniform, of course . . . but I still like to look at people in uniform.

But this year, Fleet Week has been canceled because of the sequester.

Canceling White House tours is one thing. Delaying everyone's flights was inconvenient, sure. But why Fleet Week? The Democrats are blaming the Republicans, the Republicans are blaming the Democrats, and the rest of the country is suffering.

Fleet Week exists to recognize and honor the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. Massive ships dock and servicemen and women visit the city in droves -- getting a break from the difficult work of defending our country. Held in late May, it also gives these wonderful people an opportunity to meet and socialize with New Yorkers.

The sailors who serve our country deserve to have intimate relations with people who like to have intimate relations with sailors. Troop morale is important. Let the people of our fair city improve the morale of our brave sailors!

But there's a broader civic purpose here. Aside from letting people like me swoon over seamen (who are always very polite and even hold doors for people, a nice thing to see in New York), Fleet Week provides a good opportunity to tour the visiting military ships, see demonstrations, and learn about our troops. There are probably kids who grew up and joined the military because of their Fleet Week experiences. I vividly remember visiting ships and seeing cool military flyovers as a kid, and I want my child to have that experience too.

Foreign ships will still dock and participate in Fleet Week as planned, but it's not the same. There's something about seeing a bunch of service members from your own country visiting your own city. It's that sentimental, patriotic feeling you get during the Fourth of July or a Memorial Day parade, where you start chanting "USA! USA!" in your head.

Democrats, Republicans, listen up: Stop screwing up for a few minutes, and make sure we can have Fleet Week next year.

Rachel Figueroa-Levin tweets as @Jewyorican, @EveryGentrifier and @ElBloombito.


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