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Created by the United States Congress in 1933, National Maritime Day is a holiday that both honors and celebrates the Merchant Marine. (It also commemorates the first steam-powered transoceanic voyage when the American steamship Savannah set sail from the port of Savannah, GA on 1819.) What is the Merchant Marine? Think of it as the understudy to the Navy; it doesn’t get first billing, but it steps in when there’s a crisis and saves the day. Even when things are running smoothly, Merchant Mariners are working quietly behind the scenes to help make certain that the show goes on — and that the U.S.’s imports and exports get where they need to go.
Today, the celebration of National Maritime Day has expanded to include the entire maritime industry and domestic waterborne commerce, as well as the brave men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving aboard a Merchant Marine ship. So celebrate these courageous Americans this May 22!