The U.S. Celebrates Annual Navy Day with Pinning Ceremonies and More

by Sokolove Law

October is a huge awareness month – one in which the United States recognizes breast cancer, domestic violence, and Down Syndrome. But there are also two big United States Navy celebrations that take place every year in October – the Navy’s Birthday and Navy Day. The U.S. Navy was originally established as the Continental Navy on October 13th, 1775, and for many years, us Americans have been celebrating the birth of the Navy on that day. Every year since 1922, though, Americans have been celebrating National Navy Day on October 27th.

What Is Navy Day?

Navy Day is a holiday that was established to commemorate and honor Americans who serve and have served in the U.S. Navy. We have been recognizing this holiday for close to a century in honor of the 26th U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, who was born on October 27th, and who is said to have been a naval enthusiast as well as one of his era’s most influential naval strategists. Roosevelt began studying naval aspects of the War of 1812 as an undergraduate student at Harvard, was assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy, and continued work as a naval historian up until his death in 1919.

When the Navy League was formed, President Roosevelt said,

“It seems to me that all Americans, interested in the growth of this country and sensitive to its honor, should give hearty support to the policies which the Navy League is founded to further. I congratulate the country because it has been formed.”

This year, there will be various unofficial celebrations all over the U.S. including pinning ceremonies and Navy Day regattas in different cities. Every year since 1986, there has been a Navy Day rowing regatta in Philadelphia. At the Battleship Cove Marine Museum in Fall River, MA, there will be a Navy Day Historian Lecture.

These events are in place around the country, because it’s important to recognize the men and women who have served in the U.S. Navy and celebrate Navy Day by doing something thoughtful for a Veteran or active member. Not every city has Navy Day events for the public to attend, but it’s a simple as sharing a “Thank You” post on Facebook, or buying a Navy friend/family member a cup of coffee.

Health Concerns for Navy Veterans

We take pride in our servicemen and women, and look forward to celebrating this day, but in talking about Navy Day, one negative aspect does come to mind. Many Navy veterans have encountered health issues years after serving, particularly lung disease. Sadly, Navy personnel and shipbuilders are among the nation’s individuals who have had the highest susceptibility to mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases. Though asbestos is now heavily regulated for most uses in the United States, it was widely used for insulation in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, and on almost every Navy ship during that time period.

Navy personnel during that time (most of whom are Veterans now) were exposed to asbestos and became one of the groups most prone to malignant mesothelioma, a destructive and fatal cancer that affects the lining of the lungs – and a cancer which can live dormant in the body for 20-to-50 years before showing any signs. Asbestos exposure is still the only known cause of this awful disease.

As we celebrate this American institution and praise our service members, we also like to bring to light malignant mesothelioma because although veterans only represent 8% of our nation’s population, they make up 30% of all mesothelioma deaths. This number is quite high and one we hope to lower this statistic by educating each other on the history of the Navy, the health history of people who have served in the Navy, and the importance (and needs) of its past, present, and future members.

Happy National Navy Day!

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