A Milestone Anniversary
This article was originally published in the Grand Haven Tribune in August, 2014, written by Steven Radtke, Executive Director
As we approach the annual Coast Guard Festival, it is a good time to look back and remember where the Coast Guard came from, how we came to have a Coast Guard Festival, and the idea behind "Coast Guard City USA" 2014 represents the 90th year anniversary of the first celebration celebrating the Coast Guard in Grand Haven. This celebration, which had traditionally taken the form of picnic for enlisted men and their families, eventually became a larger, community wide celebration, today drawing over 100,000 people to the city for a week of festivities. There is more on this later on, but let us begin at the beginning with the Life Saving Service.
In the early years of our country, when transportation by ship or boat was crucially important, the only method of coping with disasters at sea was for ships to help other ships. Assistance from shore was desperately needed, and as the death toll rose, so did the outrage of the public. Congress responded by establishing what would become the United States Life Saving Service (LSS) in 1871.