National Maritime Day


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Maritime Day, National

May 22
The day chosen to commemorate the contribution of American commercial shipping is, appropriately, the day on which the Savannah left its home port in Georgia in 1819 to attempt the first steam-propelled crossing of the Atlantic. So unusual was it to see a steam-powered vessel in those days that when the Savannah passed the naval station at Cape Clear, Ireland, the authorities thought she was on fire and quickly dispatched a royal cutter to assist her. In reality, the Savannah was equipped with sails and only relied on her engines for about 90 hours of the journey.
It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who first proclaimed May 22 as National Maritime Day in 1933. Since that time observations of this day have grown in popularity, particularly in American port cities. Ships are opened to the public, maritime art and essay contests are held, and parades and band concerts are common. Environmentalists sometimes take advantage of the attention focused on the country's maritime heritage on this day to draw attention to pollution and deterioration of maritime environments, particularly in large commercial ports like New York City.
CONTACTS:
U.S. Maritime Service Veterans
P.O. Box 2361
Berkeley, CA 94702
www.usmm.org
Maritime Administration
U.S. Dept. of Transportation
400 Seventh Ave. S.W.
Washington, DC 20590
800-996-2723 or 202-366-5807
www.marad.dot.gov
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 380
AnnivHol-2000, p. 85
References in periodicals archive ?
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