May 4, 1987 By the President of the United States
Through the centuries, the American merchant marine has helped our country grow and safeguarded our security. During peacetime, the merchant marine has linked the United States in commerce with trading partners all over the world. In times of war or national emergency, merchant seamen have served with valor and distinction as the lifeline of our armed forces.
Today, the United States is the leader in world trade and the military bulwark of the Free World. The dual roles of the merchant marine in trade and defense remain crucial to our national interests, so the maritime policy of the United States must always keep it strong and competitive. Every American should give thanks for the merchant marine's legacy of service and sacrifices for our freedom and prosperity and for its continuing contributions to our way of life.
In recognition of the importance of the American merchant marine, the Congress, by joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22 of each year as ``National Maritime Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance. This date was chosen to commemorate the day in 1819 when the SS SAVANNAH left Savannah, Georgia, on the first transatlantic steamship voyage.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 1987, as National Maritime Day. I urge the people of the United States to observe this day by displaying the flag of the United States at their homes and other suitable places, and I request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:24 p.m., May 4, 1987]