Celebrating National Maritime Day
Ever since 1607, the destiny of the United States has largely been decided on the seas. Of the original 13 colonies, 12 sat on the Atlantic coast, making each colony a seafaring state to varying degrees. Some of our nation’s greatest advancements depended on our ability to travel across the ocean—from our ability to trade with Britain, to our involvement in the World Wars hundreds of years later, to our massive import and export economy today.
The brave men and women who braved the seas in our nation’s early history, from the first Mayflower crew to the merchants who spread tomatoes, tobacco, and other goods throughout the world, were the first members of what the U.S. would later call the Merchant Marine. In 1933, our nation set aside a day to honor these courageous seafarers.
Now, every May 22nd, the United States celebrates National Maritime Day to remember the sailors who risked life and limb to serve their fellow Americans in both peace and wartime, through calm waters and raging storms. The day is an opportunity to honor not only maritime workers of the past, but the ones who are still serving today.
The White House issued a statement this week recognizing the contributions of the Merchant Marine:
“These seafarers have bravely faced threats at home and abroad—including combatants and pirates, disease outbreaks and natural disasters—and they consistently heed the call to serve their fellow Americans. In World War II, their ships carried troops and much-needed support to the battlefield, thousands making the ultimate sacrifice. They were among the first to see battle, and many were among the last to return home to our shores.”
Being maritime lawyers, we have witnessed firsthand the struggles, the bravery, and the fortitude of our mariners. As their representatives, we gladly honor them—not only on May 22nd, but on every day we have the privilege of serving as their advocates. We gladly stand with the President and his staff as they call for us to honor maritime workers of all types.
“On this day, and every day, let us express our sincere gratitude to these courageous men and women for all they do for our Nation, and let us reaffirm our commitment to support them as they continue to uphold their proud tradition of service.”