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Casino Thanks Servicemembers With Red, White and Blues Bash

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., May 5, 2006 – It was all about blues at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino here last night.

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Zee (left) and Elwood Blues - Jim Belushi and Dan Akroyd - take the crowd at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino's Hard Rock Live venue down memory lane with their trademark songs, "Sweet Home Chicago" and "Soul Man." The concert was part of the casino's "Red, White and Blues Bash" on May 4 in conjunction with Fleet Week USA and the 2006 McDonald's Air and Sea Show. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley
  

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The evening began when the Army's Golden Knights parachute team arrived as only it can - right on target from above. The Knights' arrival kicked off the "Red, White and Blues Bash" hosted by the casino in conjunction with Fleet Week USA and the 2006 McDonald's Air and Sea Show, which begins tomorrow here in South Florida.

The Army parachutists, followed by the Canadian Forces Snow Birds Precision Aerobatic Team, took the stage for introductions before the Blues Brothers, Elwood and Zee Blues, played by Dan Akroyd and Jim Belushi respectively, took the crowd back to "Sweet Home Chicago."

Still on a "mission from God" and backed by the Sacred Hearts band, the soul men hammed with the crowd and performed an upbeat tribute to the late "Joliet" Jake Blues - Belushi's real-life brother John.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Howat Will said Fleet Week and the air and sea show are great opportunities to demonstrate to the public what the sea services do. The aviation survival technician will participate in a Coast Guard demonstration during air and sea show activities.

Having just accepted the gratitude of a passer-by, Will and Coast Guardsman Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin Bernatovich, also an aviation survival technician, said such they always appreciated such gestures.

"I'm very thankful," he said and really likes it "when somebody comes up to me and asks me what I do and says, 'Thank you.'"

"People think of us as so many things," he said. "But me, I'm just doing my job."

While the Blues Brothers wrapped up their salute with their famous rendition of "Soul Man," the Down Range portion of the Army Band was drawing a crowd with its version of the same tune.

"It's immeasurable the impact it has for the troops serving overseas, for retired veterans," Army Down Range member Staff Sgt. Colin Eaton, said of the Fleet Week and air and sea show festivities. "It shows that the Army and all the sister services are still strong, and they're still supportive of each other and all those who served before us."

Eaton has been with the Army Band at Fort Myer, Va., for the past six and a half years and said he looks forward to performing at events like the casino show.

The Bash ended with a blast as a fireworks display erupted over Seminole Paradise Lake.

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Related Sites:
Fleet Week USA and the 2006 McDonald's Air and Sea Show
Army Band

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Staff Sgt. Colin Eaton performs with the Army Band's Down Range ensemble, which he's been a member of for the past six-and-a-half years. The band's renditions of well-known songs had people dancing in a Seminole Hard Rock Casino courtyard May 4. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageZee Blues, Jim Belushi, puts his all into entertaining the crowd at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino's Hard Rock Live venue. The Blues Brothers, backed by the Sacred Hearts band, performed as part of the casino's "Red, White and Blues Bash" on May 4 in conjunction with Fleet Week USA and the 2006 McDonald's Air and Sea Show. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
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