Coast Guard Celebrates 217th Birthday, Tallies Lives Saved

During an Aug. 4 ceremony celebrating its 217th birthday, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that 1,109,310 lives have been saved since its establishment in 1790.

Since 1924, the residents of Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg, Mich., have recognized the Coast Guard with an annual celebration. The festivities included Coast Guard cutter tours, a children's parade, a downtown carnival, nightly entertainment, a parade, a family picnic, and fireworks.

"When things are at their worst, America's Coast Guard is at its best," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "What began as a revenue enforcement agency with a fleet of ten cutters established by Alexander Hamilton more than 200 years ago has evolved into the world's premiere multi-mission, maritime, and military service."

The number of lives saved was calculated by the Coast Guard historian's office through research of logs and records from the Coast Guard, the Revenue Cutter Service, the US Life-Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, and other agencies that eventually became the modern Coast Guard. In addition to tallying the total number of lives saved, the historian's office has compiled a list of the top ten rescues in the Coast Guard's history, available at www.piersystem.com/posted/786/Top_ten_Coast_Guard_Rescues.166402.doc.

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