The maritime industry has and always will power America. From trade and travel to defense, maritime has been an integral pillar of the foundation of the United States and the Great Lakes. This year will mark the 85th National Maritime Day.
Congress named the holiday on May 22, 1933 to celebrate the American steamship Savannah’s 1819 voyage from the U.S. to England. This was the first successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean using steam propulsion.
During World War II, more than 250,000 men joined the American Merchant Marine. These men were not soldiers, but mere civilians without whom, the United States Armed Forces would not be able to carry tanks and torpedoes, or even fight across the ocean. These Merchant Mariners volunteered to ship cargo and soldiers overseas during the war. 1 in 30 of these men did not return home. In 1970, the Maritime Administration sponsored an observance of Maritime Day that paid respects to the Merchant Mariners who laid down their lives.
Maritime Day is a time-honored tradition that recognizes one of our country’s most important industries and the brave men that fought to keep our country safe.