What started as a maritime salute to local healthcare workers, first responders and other front line staff in the fight against the coronavirus, quickly became a national event.
For National Maritime Day 2020 (Friday, May 22), DCMM staff organized a maritime signal of appreciation for local healthcare workers fighting against the present pandemic. At Noon, the ship’s horn on the restored Museum tugboat John Purves sounded a “Master’s Salute” consisting of three long blasts followed by two short blasts, to honor those working the front lines against COVID-19.
The Museum contacted the US Coast Guard stations in Northeast Wisconsin to make them aware of the plan, and see if they would agree to participate as well. The USCG Cutter Mobile Bay agreed, and was joined by the retired 41-foot USCG vessel that is part of the Museum’s outdoor artifact collection. Other local participants included the Sarter Marine Towing tugboat fleet, Washington Island Ferry Line, Roen Salvage Company, and Henriksen Fisheries.
DCMM then asked other groups to join in the effort, and it became a nationwide event. Both the Historic Naval Ships Association and the Council of American Maritime Museums shared the information with their memberships. The USS Cobia submarine at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc was one of the first non-local organizations that enthusiastically agreed to participate.
Ultimately, vessels all over North America, from coast-to-coast, participated. The list includes: the USS New Jersey near Philadelphia; the LA Maritime Museum tug Angels Gate; the US Coast Guard Academy training barque Eagle; the USS St. Louis (LCS-19) in Marinette; the USS Alabama; and the USS Razorback.
Every participating vessel was asked to shoot video for social media and share with the hashtag for the overall event – #MaritimeHonors. The DCMM Facebook page has several videos to view.