The US Flag Code offers a list of especially appropriate flag-flying days, and today is one of them—Navy Day, a civilian holiday established on October 27, 1922 by the Navy League of the United States.
Founded in 1902, the Navy League of the United States is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating American citizens about the importance of sea power to the national security of the United States, and to supporting the sea services—U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. flag Merchant Marines. Since the Navy League’s founding, it has grown to become a worldwide organization with nearly 70,000 members in almost 300 councils, and includes more than 250 corporate and community affiliate members.
The date of October 27 for a honorary celebration was suggested by the Navy League in recognition of Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. Roosevelt had been an Assistant Secretary of the Navy and supported a strong Navy as well as the idea of Navy Day. In addition, October 27 was 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.
The idea of Navy Day was to focus attention on the importance of the U.S. Navy. Throughout the decades, Navy Day was a huge celebration, but in the 1970s, the Oct. 27 date was finally passed over in favor of the Navy’s own birthday, Oct. 13, which commemorates the founding of the Continental Navy in 1775. However, Navy Day remains listed in the U.S. Flag Code as a special flag-flying day.
The vintage Navy Day poster image is used courtesy of the Navy League of the United States. The photograph of President Harry S Truman comes from the National Archives.