Each year, on May 22, we celebrate National Maritime Day and recognize the dedicated seafaring men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine. All of whom have served our nation since its founding. In ways we could not possibly recount, we owe a great debt to the merchant mariners who have served our nation throughout its history.
Throughout our history, the merchant marine has consistently gone far beyond the call of duty. It has proven itself – time and again -- not only as a national asset, but a global asset as well.
By serving our nation in war-time and providing humanitarian assistance around the globe, our merchant marine has carried on the unwritten diplomatic mission of the United States—to better the global community. From ensuring the waterborne delivery of supplies and equipment to our military forces based or deployed overseas to delivering commercial cargoes at home and to other nations, these men and women have played a vital role in establishing and maintaining the American way of life.
Lest we forget the many thousands of citizen-mariners currently employed in oceangoing and marine-related shore side jobs here stateside and around the world. Their skills, persistence and determination are the lifeblood of a nation that began with an ocean voyage aimed to grow maritime trade and financed by maritime trade.
That same bold, seagoing enterprise transformed an “unexplored” continent into the most powerful nation on earth. As President Obamasaid, “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.” This national maritime day observance is fitting tribute to those who have served our nation honorably for more than 200 years.