Maritime Day 2016

I gave you a preview the other day, now on to the real deal. 🙂 Today, May 22, is actually Maritime Day. We even got a “Presidential Proclamation“. 🙂

This years Maritime Day celebration in Galveston (on the 19th) wasn’t as good as last years, if only because of the weather. We didn’t get to sit outside and watch the traffic in the harbor, or get a salute from a tugboat this year, but thank goodness they planned to move it into the cruise ship terminal a couple of days earlier! It was streaming down rain all day long! Thunder and lightning shook the building, drowned out the speakers and split the sky.

But we persevered and had our little memorial with the few hardy souls who managed to make it out before the storm hit in full force.

Galveston’s celebration started off with music by the ‘Singing Stars’ from the Odyssey Academy.

Captain John Peterlin III from the Port of Galveston welcomed everyone to the event and then led into a program explaining the history of the US Merchant Marine and Maritime Day. There was a moment of silence in appreciation of all mariners past and present.

Tammy Lobaugh from Texas A & M Galveston talked a bit about maritime education and a few of the many maritime organizations that contribute to our maritime heritage. Some of them were represented at the event- WISTA, the maritime unions (SIUMEBA, AMO), the seamans centers, maritime museums, ports, etc.

Cristina Galego representing the Port of Galveston read John Masefield’s poem Sea Fever

Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
 
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
            And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
 
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
The wreath was laid*
and Father Stelios Sitaras led the benediction before the closing remarks and a reading of Carl Sandburg’s Young Sea.

YOUNG SEA

THE sea is never still.
It pounds on the shore
Restless as a young heart,
Hunting.

The sea speaks
And only the stormy hearts
Know what it says:
It is the face
of a rough mother speaking.

The sea is young.
One storm cleans all the hoar
And loosens the age of it.
I hear it laughing, reckless.

They love the sea,
Men who ride on it
And know they will die
Under the salt of it

Let only the young come,
Says the sea.

Let them kiss my face
And hear me.
I am the last word
And I tell
Where storms and stars come from.

A fitting closing to the memorial on a stormy day.

*due to the terrible weather, they’ll save the wreath and send it out later from the memorial at Pier 21

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