Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2014

Wickie’s Wisdom

1789 - 2014 = 225

By Timothy Harrison


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Wayne Wheeler, founder of the U.S. Lighthouse ...
Photo by: Charles Hillinger

In thinking of the most important or memorable year in the history of the United States, most people will automatically say 1776. But the year of 1789 may be just as important.

In 1789, the Articles of Confederation, which the government of the United States had been operating under, was officially abolished and replaced by the U.S. Constitution. Our first President, Vice President, and Speaker of the House were elected. The Department of State, the Department of War, and the Department of the Treasury were created and the Bill of Rights was passed.

The year of 1789 was also a big year for lighthouses. On August 7, 1789, the day after the Electoral College ballots were counted and George Washington was unanimously elected President of the United States, the First Congress of the United States, realizing the vital importance of lighthouses to the growth of safe commerce and trade of our young nation, passed a law to federalize all lighthouses in the United States.

In recent years, the August 7th date has been the date used to recognize National Lighthouse Day. But the only year it was an official federal date was on August 7, 1989, which was the 200th anniversary of the August 7, 1789 date. Thanks to our prodding, last year the U.S. Senate, by a unanimous vote, passed Senate Resolution # 204, that declared August 7, 2013, for that year only, as National Lighthouse Day, but U. S. House of Representatives did not bother to act on the matter. So, we still didn’t have a law declaring every August 7th for every year thereafter as an official National Lighthouse Day.

Over the years, we and others have vigorously campaigned for this effort, and we have explained numerous times about the vital importance to the lighthouse cause, and the lighthouse community, the reasons for why this law creating a National Lighthouse Day on August 7th for every year should be passed by the Congress of the United States.

This year is the 225th Anniversary of our nation’s lighthouse service that has operated under the auspices of the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, and Homeland Security, and been managed under branches of those departments with organizational divisions named the U.S. Light-House Establishment, The U.S. Light House Board, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the Bureau of Lighthouses, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The United States would not have seen its rapid growth if it were not the establishing of one of the best systems of aids to navigation and infrastructure the world has ever known. It’s high-time to recognize and honor the many men and women who made it happen.

We are again appealing to every lighthouse group and every person who believes that lighthouse preservation is important to our nation to write their members of Congress and request that they finally act to make August 7, 2014 and every August 7th thereafter as National Lighthouse Day.

Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno -- one for all and all for one; together, we can make this happen.

Timothy Harrison

Editor & Publisher

Lighthouse Digest

P.O. Box 250

East Machias, ME 04630


This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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