May 22nd National Maritime Day
Most countries economic development originated with the ships, and the men and women who sailed them, to grow. When there were no airplanes the only way to build trade with other countries was by what could be shipped out, and shipped in. With the world connected by merchant ships, there needed to be a strong navy to protect them. In World War 2 the allied countries were held together by their ability to ship war materials, and food, to those countries under siege. 250,000 Merchant Marines served during World War 2 with 6,700 (At least) perishing to get those needed supplies through. Today was created by the US Congress in 1933.
How to celebrate – Learn more about the foundations of our economy. Thank any sailors you see. Learn more about the maritime services.
Here in the United States the U.S. Congress took over the operations of all lighthouses on August 7th, 1789. Once operated by the Federal Government the lighthouses became standardized here in America and were literally lifesavers for those at sea. they normally mark where the ocean meets the land, or lake if that is the case, and mark tremulous areas that Captains of ships need to watch out for.
Originally these lighthouses had to manned since the signal sent out was either a torch or lantern that had to be lit and watched over all night long. Many lighthouses had living quarters in the actual tower while others had houses connected to them where the lighthouse keeper could live.
During the day light hours the lighthouse was useful as a beacon for navigation, at night they were a necessity for mariners. As the years past and electricity replaced the torch or lantern, the lighthouse keeper became scarce since they were no longer required to light them, or watch them for fires.
So today the lighthouse has become more of a museum to the past when they were required. With the invention of radar and GPS, most are not even lit anymore. They serve as wonder platforms for observation of the area, most having beautiful views of the surrounding area.
How to celebrate – Visit a local lighthouse today. Stand in the middle of a very dark area and see if you can tell where the water and land meet. Start your own miniature lighthouse collection.