The date May 22 is significant because in 1819 the SS Savannah departed on the first successful voyage by a steam-powered ship across the Atlantic, quietly sparking a new age of maritime travel and transport.
First declared so by Congress in 1933, National Maritime Day took on a special significance in World War II when the United States Merchant Marine answered the call and transported necessary supplies and services to troops abroad, all while suffering an extraordinarily high casualty rate.
So today, let’s all pause to honor the U.S. Merchant Marine – past and present – and give thanks for the vital role they play in our society.
For National Maritime Observance events, you’ll have to check your local listings.