More than 600 Navy Leaguers from around the world will be in New York City from June 28 to July 2, 2002, attending the organization’s national convention and celebrating the Centennial of the Navy League of the United States (NLUS). The Navy League is a civilian organization that supports all of the U.S. sea services – the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine. For 100 years, the Navy League has been providing direct support to millions of active duty men and women and their families as well as educating elected officials and the public about the need for strong sea services.
It is most appropriate that New York is the site for this centennial convention and celebration since the Navy League was founded in this city. Rear Admiral Albert Barker, Commandant of the New York Navy Yard, urged the formation of a navy league “to enlighten people … on naval matters and tell them what a navy means to the country and what it ought to mean to them.”
In 1902, the Navy League was launched, with the enthusiastic support and personal funding of President Theodore Roosevelt
. As a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Roosevelt contributed part of his peace honorarium to build a legacy for sea power. Roosevelt’s great grandson, Simon Roosevelt, will greet NLUS members at the Tuesday evening dinner bringing to full circle the participation of the Roosevelt family in the Navy League.
Since WWI, when the Navy League encouraged women to knit sweaters, mufflers, and mittens for seamen, Navy League members have provided physical and spiritual comfort to sea service members and their families. Today more than 77,000 Navy League members, belonging to 330 councils around the world, still devote time, money, and energy to support and improve the well being of American service personnel and their families. Councils adopt ships and units; honor enlisted personnel through various types of professional and leadership awards; host social events for military personnel; and support family members left behind when spouses or parents are deployed. In addition, they provide scholarships for military personnel and their family members; raise money and provide volunteer workers for fleet week activities, ship welcomings, and ship commissionings; and host birthday celebrations for the various sea services
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a Navy League program with more than 10,000 members throughout the U.S. Councils invest in the youth of our nation by sponsoring and supporting Sea Cadet programs across the country.
The convention will feature informative sessions involving senior officers from the sea services and industry who will talk about shipbuilding, the Merchant Marines, Coast Guard operations, and Operation Enduring Freedom. A highlight of the five-day convention will include a visit by Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England on Tuesday, July 2, for the awards luncheon and the final dinner that evening.
So as the Navy League gathers
in New York City to celebrate their Centennial, it is with a renewed patriotic spirit and vigor we look to the future and rally around our Centennial theme: Citizens In Support of the Sea Services. We ask that you join us in this worthy effort.
For more information, contact the Navy League at 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201-3308, 703-528-1775 or check the website at www.navyleague.org.