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National Maritime Day celebrated in Port of Duluth-Superior; event salutes Merchant Mariners & Maritime Industry; Congressman Chip Cravaack keynoter

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Duluth, Minn., U.S.A. - U.S. Merchant Marine veterans, current seafarers, and maritime industry stakeholders are gathering today, Tuesday, May 22, to celebrate National Maritime Day in the Port of Duluth-Superior. The program, sponsored locally by the Propeller Club of Duluth-Superior, gets underway at noon in the Horizon Room of the DECC Harbor Side Convention Center.

National Maritime Day commemorates the first steam vessel crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on May 22, 1819, when the SS Savannah sailed from her home port in Georgia bound for Liverpool, England. Established to recognize the value and importance of this nation's maritime industry, it evolved into a day to honor merchant mariners for their legacy of service and sacrifice - having safeguarded our country and its trade corridors during World War II and other armed conflicts around the world.   Today, Maritime Day is observed as a combined salute to merchant mariners and the entire maritime industry...focusing attention on the benefits maritime brings to America's economy, trade, national security, employment, recreation, and quality of life.

Keynote speaker for Maritime Day is Minnesota 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack. His presentation, "America's Waterways: Securing Continued Prosperity for the Future," addresses the role our waterways (including the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway) play in securing this nation's future. The Congressman is a 24-year Navy veteran and third generation in his family to serve in the U.S. military. During his Navy career as a helicopter pilot, then Captain Cravaack was honored with several awards and citations, including a Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. He is a designated Navy Master Training Specialist. Cravaack earned his B.S. degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Master's in Education from University of West Florida, and attended courses at the Naval War College and the National Defense University. Elected to Congress in 2010, he and his wife Traci have two sons.

Today's event will commence with the "Presentation of Colors" by U.S. Coast Guard Duluth units followed by the reading of state and city proclamations. Prior to the keynote address, a memorial service in honor of all mariners will be conducted by the Rev. Tom Anderson, Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers.                                                   ##

Contact Adele Yorde, Port Authority PR Manager, 218.727.8525

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