Allow me first to express my gratitude to American Legion Post 404 of Marco Island for the decision to honor the U.S. Merchant Marine at the 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony to be held on 11/11/19 at 11 AM at Veterans Community Park. As a 1976 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, I can attest that the entire maritime community is thankful for this recognition.
Although the U.S. Merchant Marine is not a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, in times of war it can be called upon to deliver military personnel and materials as an auxiliary of the Defense Department. In peacetime it refers to civilian mariners or to civilian and federally owned merchant vessels. President Wilson in 1919 on the first armistice day stated in his remarks that “We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe…”. The Merchant Marine during WWI upheld the words of their official song Heave Ho “give us the goods and we’ll deliver”; that promise continued to be met in future conflicts by the brave men and women who followed in that tradition. The motto of my Alma mater Kings Point is Acta non verba, “deeds not words”; many Merchant Mariners have given the ultimate sacrifice fulfilling it.
I would respectfully request that you make an outreach to Merchant Mariners you know and encourage them to attend this ceremony and be duly recognized.
Timothy J. Dayton