October 13th will mark the 248th birthday of the US Navy. It began as the Continental Navy on that date in 1775, when General George Washington spoke to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, telling its members what he had done thus far to protect American colonists from British ships and urging them to form an official navy. Congress voted to do so.
In 1972, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations, designated October 13th as the official birthday and saw its celebration as an opportunity to “enhance appreciation of our Navy heritage” and reinforce “pride and professionalism in the Naval Service.”
Although the US Navy is the only one of the six military branches that does not have an official motto, it stands by the ideals of the unofficial mottos “Semper Fortis” (always courageous) and “Non sibi, sed patriae” (Not self, but country).
Its unofficial song, “Anchors Aweigh,” composed in 1906 by Charles A. Zimmerman, Naval Academy Bandmaster and Music Director, with lyrics by Midshipman Alfred H. Miles, was first performed publicly at that year’s Army-Navy football game. A third verse was added in 1926, and the lyrics were revised in 1997.
We are thankful to the US Navy and its contractors for their service in defending our country.