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National Maritime Day

Anchor on National Maritime Day

Date When Celebrated: This holiday is always held on May 22

From its very beginning the United States of America has been a maritime nation. Since those early days, the Merchant Marine has been there to support the maritime needs of both the civilian maritime industry and the U.S. navy. In recognition of the Merchant Marine, the U.S. Congress created National Maritime Day in 1933. Congress chose this date, to also commemorate the anniversary of the first trans-Atlantic voyage of a steamship. On May 22, 1819, the U.S. steamship Savannah, left from Savannah, Georgia, bound for Liverpool, England.


The Merchant Martine supports maritime interests, charged with overseeing the movement of people and goods over the seas, in times of both peace and war. In times of peace, it supports commercial U.S. maritime interests. During peacetime, the Merchant Marine is a civilian organization, managed by both the public and the U.S. government. In times of war, it is part of the U.S. military.


Did You Know? The Merchant Marine played a major role in World War II. moving soldiers, military arms, equipment and supplies. During the war, over 250,000 people served in the Merchant Marine. Over 6,700 lost their lives. Over 800 merchant ships were sunk or damaged.


 National  Maritime Day is celebrated in a number of ways:

  • American citizens fly the U.S. flag at their homes and where they work.   
  • Many seaports hold open houses and events.
  • Seaside towns and ports hold memorial services in remembrance of merchant marines who lost their lives.
  • You can use today to learn more about the Merchant Marines.

Thought for Today: Only the guy that isn't rowing has time to rock the boat." - - Jean-Paul Sartre

History and Origin of National Maritime Day:

The U.S. Congress proclaimed May 22 to be National  Maritime Day (Public Resolution #7 of May 20, 1933). The resolution instructs the president to make an annual proclamation, calling upon Americans to observe the day and to fly the American flags at their homes and businesses.

National  Maritime Day is a true national holiday. However, it is not a public holiday. Schools, businesses and government offices are open.

Definition of "National" Days - and why it so important to distinguish and identify true national days.

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Holiday Insights, where every day in May is a holiday, a bizarre or wacky day, an observance, or a special event. Join us in the daily calendar fun each and every day of the year.

Did You Know? There are literally thousands of daily holidays, special events and observances, more than one for every day of the year. Many of these holidays are new, and more are being created on a regular basis. Holidays in May are no exception. At Holiday Insights, we strive to thoroughly research and record the details of each one as completely and accurately as possible.


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