3 Quick Facts About Our Merchant Marines & How to Celebrate Them
Life at sea doesn’t sound that bad, right? For some, it could be living the dream. For a lot of our American mariners, it means being aboard a ship - away from their loved ones - to serve the country by boosting the economy through ensuring that the country’s imports and exports get to their destinations.
Annually, we celebrate National Maritime Day on May 22 to honor our Merchant Marines, as well as the entire maritime industry, domestic waterborne commerce, and the men and women who carry out their noble duties on board a merchant ship. Here are 5 facts that you probably don’t know about them:
One of the reasons we can rest easy and carry on is the subconscious knowledge that there are people out there looking after us and everything we believe in. Those who swore to serve, protect, and uphold our nation’s interest even at the expense of their lives. These men and women of all branches of the military are guardians of what makes us American.
On Armed Forces Day, celebrate their lives and victories by doing these:
1. They provide military support.
The Merchant Marines are not part of the military, so their ships are civilian-manned. Even so, some mariners run ships that offer support to the U.S. Navy. These can range from vehicle cargo ships, replenishment oilers, or dry cargo ships.
2. They can be at the helm.
For mariners to rise through the ranks and become captain of a ship, they have to finish a course track at any of these seven maritime academies in the country:
- United States Merchant Marine Academy;
- State University of New York Maritime College;
- Great Lakes Maritime Academy;
- California State University Maritime Academy;
- Massachusetts Maritime Academy;
- Texas A&M Maritime Academy; and
- Maine Maritime Academy.
3. They can become decorated officers.
Exemplary service and outstanding bravery cannot go unrewarded. If the military can be bestowed with a Medal of Honor and other decorations, Merchant Marines can receive the “Distinguished Service Medal” for outstanding conduct or service in the line of duty. This is awarded by the Department of Transportation. Several awardees served during World War II.
How should we celebrate them?
To honor them on their special day, you could…
Attend a commemorative event. If you live near a port city, chances are you can attend these annual celebrations. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and bask in the sea breeze, talks or speeches about the maritime industry, and warm conversations with active and former mariners.
Take a tour. Be it a ship or museum tour, enjoy some new-found knowledge on the history and heritage of our seafaring countrymen.
Get them a gift. Wherever they are in the world, let them flaunt their American pride with patriotic baseball jerseys! 100% American-owned and made, these threads will remind them of the freedom they help preserve. Check out the styles here.
Salute to our amazing Merchant Marines!