In 1933 Congress declared that 22 May of each year would be National Maritime Day in honor of all the U.S. Merchant Mariners who have faithfully served their country, "In Peace And War." The date was chosen because that is when in 1819, the Steam Ship SAVANNA sailed from the United States to Great Britain, making the first Atlantic crossing under steam power. During World War II, more than 250,000 U.S. Merchant Mariners served their country with more than 6,700 laying their lives upon the "alter of freedom", hundreds more held as prisoners of war and more than 800 vessels sunk or damaged. Each year the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling on all Americans to observe National Maritime Day by properly displaying our national flag in suitable locations.
The U.S. Merchant Marine has always been a vital part of the success and survival of our great nation. From serving as privateers and transporting combat cargo in times of war, to carrying the products that feed the global economy to and from the United States in times of peace. Approximately 95% of everything we purchase or use every day traveled aboard a merchant vessel.
I hope you will take a brief moment of your day to think of and perhaps even say a prayer for the men and women who go down to the sea in ships, the United States Merchant Marine, In Peace And War - since 1775.