U.S. Secretary of Labor Pays Tribute to Merchant Mariners

Wednesday, May 23, 2007
U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued a statement on National Maritime Day urging awareness and acknowledgement of the achievements and sacrifice of the U.S. Merchant Marine:

"On this National Maritime Day 2007, I call on all Americans to recognize and honor those men and women who serve so proudly in our United States Merchant Marine and to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives in service of our country. "The U.S. Merchant Marine has a long history of serving this great country. They have played a critical role during times of peace and war. They serve at great personal risk and with the utmost distinction. Our nation should be thankful for the courage, patriotism, and hard work of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

"From the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the U.S. Merchant Marine has played a special role in supporting our Armed Forces. Today, there are more than 8,000 merchant mariners serving the Military Sealift Command. As they have in every war in our nation's history, merchant mariners are delivering our troops the essential supplies they need to complete their missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. "The United States economy is the single largest economy in the world and heavily engaged in international trade. With the majority of our imports and exports being moved by water, a strong U.S. Merchant Marine is vital to carry our commerce, deliver our exports and support our national defense.

"National Maritime Day keeps alive the memory of merchant mariners who sacrificed for us throughout our nation's storied history and who honor us today with their selfless service. On this day May 22, 2007, I join all Americans in paying tribute to true American heroes, the proud men and women of the United States Merchant Marine."

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