Louis DiLeo – Fleet Week – “Honoring Alexander Hamilton”


well good afternoon ladies and gentlemen
and as Nicole told you outside my name is flotilla staff officer Louis DiLeo. I am the vocalist and the principal trumpet of the United States Coast Guard
Auxiliary band, now are there people here who don’t know… do not know what the
Coast Guard Auxiliary is? don’t be ashamed, because 7 years ago I didn’t either! !okay you know that.. okay, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is a civilian volunteer branch of the United States Coast Guard and there are as many Coast Guard
Auxiliarists as there are United States Coast
Guardsmen; so we have doubled their force by 100%. We are the smallest branch of
the military we are not part of the Department of Defense, we are part of the
department of homeland security formerly of the Treasury Department. Our main
purpose is dealing with recreational boating, teaching boating safety, and
doing inspections of vessels; but there’s one thing that we do have, and that is a
band, we have the Coast Guard Auxiliary Band. All of the other forces: the Army,
Navy, Marines, have many bands. They have the premiere bands in Washington,
they have reserve bands, they have active duty bands, they have National Guard
bands… The Coast Guard has one Band. You’re talking about a force of military that
has less people than the New York.. New York City Police Department. There are
more New York City policemen then there are United States Coast Guardsmen. So,
that one band is is at the Academy up in New London and they are very big they have a
lot to do they can’t do it all so they have us to fall back on and we do things
like ship commissioning and retirement ceremonies change commands ceremonies
and we are the musical ambassadors of the auxilary the musical ambassadors of
the Coast Guard and we offer musical assistance to the
Coast Guard when necessary I personally since 2006 have sounded
taps at nine thousand six sixty eight funerals
it’s an incredible number and I don’t plan to stop I’m not dead yet so that
number will increase and it will increase tomorrow and little grease the
day after that but there’s a great honor for me and there is no higher calling
for a military musician than those twenty-four notes those twenty-four
notes are considered the most twenty-four most difficult twenty-four
notes in all of music there are times when something will happen that’ll grab
you you can’t get your breath you can’t play you force it through and
when you get done you better take a nap because it’s been very stressful when I
first started full-time with the Army doing this this is before the Coast
Guard Auxiliary remember I didn’t know about the Coast Guard’s Hillery
exhilarate until seven years ago when I first started doing it full-time for the
Army National Guard in the first three months I lost twenty
pounds in half my hair and that was all self-imposed pressure that I put on
myself because it absolutely absolutely absolutely had to be perfect because for
that one minute I am the sole representative of the entire nation
saying thank you and farewell to this person and that responsibility is
awesome I didn’t realize it how how awesome it
would be and how stressful it would be until I started doing it I’ve gotten
over it otherwise I probably wouldn’t be standing here now
but it is a great honor and I’ve also had the honor of sounding taps at
Alexander Hamilton’s grave down at Trinity Church we do this twice a year
in military circles we always celebrate the date of birth and commemorate the
date of death in those cases he was born on january 11 1755 and he died on July
12 1804 you historians can microwave I got it good I’m not a historian I am
NOT a scholar on Alexander Hamilton I’m just talking about what I know about but
manufactory from Rancho La it invited me to do the first time and I said I would
be there every time and we’ve been there in snowstorms in January and one time it
took me four hours to get there and four hours to get home but we did it it was a
half an hour ceremony those are for the you know for the less hearty we do know
July as well the to commemorate his death that’s usually hot but that’s
better than the snowstorm if you have not seen that ceremony it is put on by
the Alexander Hamilton awareness Society by the coast guard by the Coast Guard
Auxiliary and we’ve had guest speakers from nevus from st. st. st. at one time
we sang happy birthday together everyone in New York and everyone in st.
Kitts because of Alexander’s home in in in nevus is that pronounced right Nevis
okay we sang it together and the commanding officer from the Coast Guard
brought his saber and we cut the birthday cake for Alexander Hamilton it
was a wonderful thing but the the event that we do at Trinity Church is a very
very moving ceremony and if no new none of you have ever been there I invite all
of you to come see it it’s wonderful and it’s
very well attended especially since of the opening of the
Broadway show Hamilton they cannot keep the grass on the ground anymore it’s
gone it’s gone the grave is quite impressive they’ve done some restoration
work on that and for me personally the given the opportunity to sing the
national anthem at that ceremony and to sound taps at that ceremony is a great
honor he was not only the founder of the Coast Guard when he founded the Revenue
marine but he was also a Major General in the army
so I get it from both sides normally when we when we honor a general he gets
a fanfare and he gets a special bugle call called the general most people
don’t know that they hear this all the time will drive but I’ll try you hear
this all the time you hear that before they play hail to the chief
well that is called ruffles and flourishes and depending on how many
stars the general has or how many stars the Admiral has is how many ruffles and
flourishes they get so Alexander Hamilton reaching the rank of
major-general would get two ruffles and flourishes followed by the bugle call
the general that would yeah where’s my cup had my
Alexander Hamilton cups after that then they’d introduce everyone else and uh if
you had event of ceremony where they were several flag officers or general
officers present only the highest-ranking would get that honor of
having that plate everyone else follows behind very annoyed but they follow up
being I did have one ceremony with the Coast Guard out in Phoenix Arizona which
was a national national conference where every flag officer wanted his there were
fourteen of them and then the Coast Guard Auxiliary Commodore said well you
know we get it we get it too and they said no it’s not gonna happen
so please come to see us down at Trinity Church if you’ve never been to Trinity
Church it’s an experience in itself George Washington attended Mass there
also at the st. Paul’s down the street to two wonderful structures I don’t know
if you’ve ever seen them heard a very interesting story about st. Paul’s I
know I’m supposed to be talking about Alexander Hamilton but I’m getting off
of this I did a ceremony at st. Paul’s and there was a representative from the
British Navy there and he informed us that the property that st. Paul’s on
still belonged to the Queen she wasn’t planning on taking it back but just
wanted to let us know that we were on the Queen’s property it did not belong
to England it was the personal property of the of King George the third at the
time you know which was very interesting I had never heard that before but
amazing amazing so if if you don’t mind I’m gonna get off the
topic again next week we celebrate the 75th anniversary of d-day I’ve had the
privilege of playing at the American ceremony in Koval Samara which is an
amazing place the most amazing thing is all of the crosses in the canoe and the
Stars of David that you see when you stand in a military cemetery here in
America even Arlington in most cases you’re standing with people that lead
full lives and pass away there are some that were killed in action when you go
over there every one of those graves was killed in
action and it is an unbelievable feeling I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to
play fortunately I did play well but it’s amazing my point being with the
75th anniversary of d-day the 75th anniversary in military circles is
usually considered the last the last reunion none of those soldiers lived to
see the hundredth the men that are celebrating the 75th or almost all in
their 90’s and they are dying at a rate of 350 a day there is approximately
600,000 World War 2 veterans still alive today of the 18 million that wore the
uniform during the war so I would ask each and every one of you if you know of
a living World War two veteran to thank him and thank him now because time is
fleeting with that I’d like to sing a song and if
you’d like to join in with me when we get to the point that you know I would
appreciate that while the storm clouds gather forth across the sea let us swear
allegiance to a land that’s free let us all be thankful for Allah as we
raise our voices in this solemn prayer god Bless America land that I love stand
beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above from the
mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam god Bless America my
home sweet home Oh God Bless America my home
oh sweet thank you ladies and gentlemen I hope
you enjoyed this wonderful place if you’ve never been be put here before
it’s it’s something to see the upstairs restoration is wonderful I’m its first
time I’ve been here and it really looks great
so please enjoy the rest of the day remember and three o’clock on Memorial
Day anyone know the significance of that time three o’clock on Memorial Day is
the national minute of remembrance wherever you are
barbecues shopping whatever you decide to do that day at three o’clock
take one minute and stop and reflect on all those that gave their lives in
defense of this country I will be at the flagpole at Long Island National
Cemetery sounding taps at that time it’s been a pleasure thank you very much

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