Since the days of the Revolutionary War, civilian mariners and port workers have played a critical role in keeping our country safe and secure and our economy strong. Their work is difficult, dangerous and underappreciated, yet these men and women — backed by strong unions — have always risen to the occasion.
Today, National Maritime Day, we honor and thank these hardworking Americans for their service and sacrifice.
Mariners, who often spend months at sea away from their families, serve as an auxiliary for the U.S. military and support vital humanitarian missions. Port workers facilitate the efficient movement of cargo and materials that drives our economy while spending their workdays exposed to the elements.
At this morning’s National Maritime Day Observance, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao echoed these sentiments and saluted the men and women of the U.S. merchant marine and other frontline employees engaged in maritime commerce. The Secretary’s words were well received and spot on.
Without the contributions of mariners and port workers, our economy could not function and our military would not be nearly as strong. Yet, the jobs and livelihoods of these men and women are continually threatened by backwards political forces that seek to erode their rights and dismantle the industries for which they work. That is why today — and every day — we stand firm in our commitment to fight for policies and programs that protect these workers and secure the port and maritime industries as hubs for good, middle-class jobs.
These are just a few of the men and women we salute: