By the President of the United States of America
The influence and the importance of the American Merchant Marine extend well beyond our thriving ports. It affects all Americans. Our Merchant Marine carries the products of our farms and factories to consumers in our domestic trades, among our fifty States and possessions, and links the U.S. industrial and agricultural heartland with our overseas trading partners. Most of the gross tonnage carried in U.S. foreign trade is waterborne.
In addition to their vital role in commerce and trade, America's shipping and shipbuilding industries have distinguished themselves in providing logistic and combat support to our armed forces in times of war.
The men and women of our Merchant Marine can be justly proud of their contributions to our Nation's economy and national defense. In these dual roles, American seafarers have carried out their responsibilities with great dedication and ability.
In recognition of the importance of the American Merchant Marine, the Congress, by joint resolution of May 20, 1933 (48 Stat. 73, 36 U.S.C. 145), designated May 22 of each year as National Maritime Day in commemoration of the departure from Savannah, Georgia, on that date in 1819 of the SS SAVANNAH on the first transatlantic voyage by any steamship and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby urge the people of the United States to honor our American Merchant Marine on May 22, 1979, by displaying the flag of the United States at their homes and other suitable places, and I request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and third.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:38 p.m., April 5, 1979]