NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Nashville read stories to local children at the Nashville Public Library here, Sept. 7, 2016.
Marine Week Nashville officially kicks off Sept. 7 with an opening ceremony at Public Square Park at 6:00 p.m.
The Nashville Public Library advocates literacy for children through read-alongs and other activities. Story time is held several times a week, but this was the first occasion where Marines were part of the performance.
“We read a story to the children, did some juggling, found out what their favorite colors are, and basically just interacted with the children, which was a lot of fun,” said Capt. Cray Pack, an AH-W1 Cobra pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron based out of New River, N.C.
Marine Week grants an opportunity for the residents of the greater Nashville area to learn about the Marine Corps, while also building service-to-citizen connections as well.
“Having one-on-one contact with Marines builds personal relationships,” said Pete Carden, a performance artist with the Nashville Public Library.
“It shows they’re not just the people who fight wars, but they can be storytellers and friends, too.”
“The big takeaway was the Marines are warfighters, but we’re also family men and women,” said Pack. “That was what we portrayed to the people; we’re just like every other American in that family is extremely important to us.”
Over the next week, the Marines will showcase their expeditionary capabilities through events like static displays and MAGTF demos, while fostering community relations during high school and college visits, ceremonies and a parade.
“The entire reason we exist is for the safety of this country and for the American people,” said Pack. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience to come and show the people of Nashville what we do as a Marine Corps. It’s been a great experience so far and we’re just getting started.”
More than 800 Marines are participating in Marine Week Nashville to give the residents of the greater Nashville area a chance to meet individual Marines and celebrate community, country and Corps.
Story by Sgt. Lucas Hopkins