U.S. Honors Merchant Marine on National Maritime Day

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May 22, 2012

Today here in the U.S. is National Maritime Day!

National Maritime Day was officially declared by Congress in 1933 to honor the contributions of the American merchant marine in wartime and in peace, as well as the U.S. maritime industry and the benefits it brings to the country in terms of transportation, jobs, goods, and recreation.

The date May 22 is significant because in 1819 the SS Savannah completed the first successful voyage by a steam powered ship across the Atlantic, quietly sparking a new age of maritime travel and transport.

National Maritime Day later 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 death rate.

Today, United States flag vessels and the mariners who sail them continue to be an integral part of our country, and ON THIS DAY you are saluted!

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