Coast Guard – August 4, 1790


Coast Guard

Unless you were really paying attention this weekend, you would not know that the U.S. Coast Guard quietly celebrated its 223rd birthday on Sunday. I say quietly because on August 4, 2013 there was nary a mention of the day on the Coast Guard’s official historian’s website, and even the main Coast Guard website only had a couple of videos – almost as an obligatory acknowledgement, rather than as a celebration.

But when you think about it, that is the way the Coast Guard operates. Its people are not flashy; nor do they seek the bright lights and cameras. They would rather do what they do best, which is to keep Americans safe during natural disasters or hazardous weather, and to defend them from those who would do them harm.

They have been doing that for two and a quarter centuries, ever since 1790, “…when the first Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of federal revenue.” (

(Note: The last quote came from a commercial website, since it is not on the Coast Guard’s site.)

They have been doing it quietly, and brilliantly, and bravely, for 223 years. Happy Birthday, Coast Guard. We are all glad you are there, every day, always ready. You are our heroes of the week.


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