National Maritime Day
National Maritime Day is a holiday that represents all of the maritime services in the United States. Held annually on May 22nd, this is a day for observation and celebration for all the ways that the industry helps our country. This includes economic stability and security, as well as entertainment by the way of cruises and other methods of water recreation. National Maritime Day is observed by the country, but it is not considered a federal holiday.
Water has played a critical role in the United States from its beginnings. Not only did colonists make it over to the continent by water, but the resulting ports also helped make trade and commerce more efficient and profitable. The economic value of the maritime industry is crucial. Also, the ports along the country’s waters have been involved in active protection during times of war.
In 1933, Congress created National Maritime Day as a way to celebrate the importance of the maritime industry. It also aims to recognize sailors and sea workers, as well as servicemen and women. May 22nd was chosen to honor the United States’ first transatlantic voyage by steamship through the Savannah. During the early 1800s, the Savannah successfully sailed from Georgia to Liverpool, England.
Given the nature of the holiday, it’s no surprise that the majority of National Maritime Day celebrations are held near the sea. Participants often host special events to showcase ships to the public. These events are family-friendly and can include music and other celebrations at seaports throughout the country. Not only may cruise ships be seen here, but the public may also get a glimpse of ships used in the military, as well as fleets used in fishing and transportation.
For some, National Maritime Day is an opportunity to remember military service men and women lost at sea. Other military celebrations on this holiday aim to increase recognition for those who serve on and in the water for the country. While this holiday is recognized by government, it is not a federal holiday like Memorial Day. This means that all federal offices are open on this day, unless the holiday falls on a weekend.
There are numerous symbols seen throughout the industry on National Maritime Day. Supporters may display symbols of anchors as well as other sea-related designs. Most often, citizens take the opportunity to display the American flag as part of their support.
As of 2006, the Maritime Administration has collaborated with other major entities to make National Maritime Day a success. These organizations include the Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the American Association of Port Authorities. The President of the United States also makes a speech on this holiday to commemorate the efforts and important roles the maritime industry plays in everyday American life.
National Maritime Day is not a military holiday. However, some branches of the military, such as the Coast Guard and Navy, may participate in the annual celebrations. Many volunteers within these armed forces help hose special public education events that encourage recognition of the maritime industry. Other events recognize the services of military personnel who worked on the water to help serve the U.S.