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.
"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
"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."