#ChantsInCuba: Day 8 -- Witnessing History and Coming Home
HAVANA, Cuba / TAMPA, Fla. - Fifty-four years, seven months and 10 days after the flag of the United States of America was lowered at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, Old Glory returned to the top of that same flag pole and the Coastal Carolina University men's basketball team was on hand to witness the historical moment.
The Chanticleer travel party departed their hotel in Varadero, Cuba, at 6:45 a.m., traveled more than two hours to Havana in hopes of seeing the historic flag raising. The Chants parked approximately two blocks from the U.S. Embassy and walked toward the throng of people and numerous American and international media members assembled to view the event.
Head coach Cliff Ellis worked his way to the front of the line, spoke to members of the American delegation and was granted permission to bring his team inside the Embassy gate to view the flag raising, which was preceded by an address from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Following Kerry's remarks, the U.S. Marine Guard Detachment that lowered the flag on Jan. 4, 1961 presented the Stars and Stripes to the U.S. Marine Guard Detachment of 2015 to raise. As soon as the flag was unfurled and began its journey to the top of the pole, the U.S. Marine Brass Quartet played the Star Spangled Banner.
The Chants then departed the Embassy and began their journey back home to Conway, S.C. The team returned to U.S. soil at 4:38 p.m when the flight landed at the Tampa International Airport. With flights scheduled to Charleston by way of Atlanta followed by a bus ride to Conway, the Chanticleers are scheduled for an approximately 3:30 a.m. arrival at The HTC Center.