Congratulations to the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History for their newest exhibit, "On the Water; Stories from Maritime America." And a big thank you to them for showcasing the essential role our waterways have played in helping to shape the United States over the last three centuries.
Click on the photo to view the exhibit's opening ceremony on You Tube.
What a great day they chose to open the exhibit, the 76th annual National Maritime Day. As museum director Brad Glass said at the opening ceremonies this morning, "The maritime influence on American history is one of the most compelling chapters in the national story."
And he's right. Our coastal and intra-coastal waterways are an abundant natural resource that has served us well. But nature only takes us so far.
The enterprising people who tamed those waters, built the ships to navigate them, and developed our ports into commercial centers all deserve credit. And, from the early sailing vessels to the advanced merchant carriers of today, the captains, pilots, engineers, and seamen who controlled these vessels have also contributed meaningfully to that national story.
As we approach Memorial Day weekend, we should also recall that, time and again, civilian merchant mariners and their Navy and Coast Guard counterparts have bravely defended our nation and put themselves in danger on the water to help others in need.
Thanks to all the merchant seamen who serve this nation so admirably, in peace time and war.