For those of you who just celebrated Navy Day, do you know the origins behind the nationally recognized holiday?
Every year on October 27, we salute all military personnel in the U.S. Navy, both veterans and active. As October is full of notable celebrations, this holiday is not to be confused with the Navy’s birthday celebrated on October 13. Rather than commemorating on the Navy’s actual day of birth, America decided to honor President Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday on the October 27, as he was a major force in elevating the Navy to what it is today.
On top of that, October 27 is also the anniversary of a 1775 report issued by a special committee of the Continental Congress favoring the purchase of merchant ships as the foundation of an American Navy. It was later suggested in 1922 by a civilian organization, the Navy League, to honor this date in celebration. Thus, National Navy Day was born.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and spent his term focusing on building the strength of that branch of the armed forces. Many credit Roosevelt’s support as the foundation of the Navy’s power and success. He was the first president to both fly in an aircraft and be submerged in a submarine.
Historically, celebrating National Navy Day on Roosevelt’s birthday came first, because it wasn’t until 1972 that the country confirmed and began to recognize that the Navy’s birthday was actually on October 13, 1775. Then, the 19 Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, initiated the official observation in 1972, separating the two days into their own special celebrations.
Though it is not recognized as an official federal holiday, you can find annual events across the nation such as fundraisers, open-sea swimming competitions and more.
Check out the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society to learn about unit-sponsored, fund-raising and other important activities held throughout the year.