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In Recognition Of The 10Th Anniversary Of The Flora-Bama And Gulf Coast Residents Support Of New York City And Harlem After September 11, 2001

Rep. Charles B. Rangel

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of the 10th Anniversary of the Flora-Bama and Gulf Coast support of New York City and Harlem after September 11, 2001.

In 2002, Joe Gilchrist, owner of the Flora-Bama Lounge in Pensacola, Florida brought to New York a group of more than 100 visitors, including musicians and songwriters, to pay respect to the ground zero site and support New York. Gilchrist also encouraged the group to spend money to help uplift New York City's economy and provide moral and spiritual support to the victim's families. The group also toured New York City fire houses, the Empire State Building and Central Park. The visit culminated in a great celebration at the Waldorf Astoria, which included performances by Chuck Jackson, and other musicians and singers who participated in the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival.

On Saturday February 4, the Harlem community, along with Joe Gilchrist and the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Flora-Bama and Gulf Coast historic visit to New York. Musicians, songwriters, business leaders and residents from the Flora-Bama and Gulf Coast toured the 911 Memorial site and performed in lower Manhattan and in Harlem. This Cultural Exchange was promoted with the theme of, ``Merging Manhattan Music with Southern Sounds.'' Kicking off the diverse musical tribute were original songs by ``Lil Man,'' an eight year old ``Hip Hop'' artist who writes his own songs; stellar performances by Michael Jackson impersonator, Jesse Valenca; and Urica Rose, an electrifying singer and songwriter, representing the ``New Generation of Rock'' performers.

The group attended Open House events at the world famous Apollo Theater, including performances by Ballet Hispanico, the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Amateur Night winners and was given a tour by Apollo historian Billy Mitchell. The group joined Commander E. Randy Dupree at Harlem's historic Colonel Charles Young American Legion Post 398, where Flora-Bama musicians joined Hammond B3 Organist and Jazz legend Seleno Clark, Percussionist Don Eaton and the Harlem Groove Band for a jam session to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of their visit to New York City.

As Dean of the New York Congressional Delegation, I want to extend my thanks to Joe Gilchrist and the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival for their outstanding economic, moral and spiritual support to Harlem and the great State of New York.