As Commander in Chief, I join a grateful Nation in celebrating the 229th birthday of the United States Coast Guard.

In 1790, at the request of Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington established a fleet of small, but swift vessels, “judiciously stationed at the entrances of our ports” to serve as “useful sentinels of our laws.”  For more than two centuries now, the United States Coast Guard has manned boats, tenders, tugs, cutters, and aircraft, answering the call of duty.  Ever vigilant, the guardians of our waters remain Semper Paratus—always ready.

Today, our Nation celebrates the historic legacy of the United States Coast Guard and commends the daily work of our Coast Guardsmen.  These brave patriots secure our borders from drug runners and terrorists, defend our country’s interests around the world, rescue our citizens from stormy seas, and ensure the safe and efficient shipment of more than $5.4 trillion of commerce.  The world was recently reminded of the daily heroism of the United States Coast Guard by a recent operation off the coast of South America.  The crew of United States Coast Guard Cutter Munro bravely boarded a drug-smuggling semi-submersible vessel through choppy surf, quickly subdued cartel-backed traffickers, and seized $569 million of illicit drugs.  This act of bravery is just one instance of our gallant men and women in uniform putting service over self, and it highlights the everyday courage that makes America’s military the strongest in the world.

Melania joins me in commending the United States Coast Guard on 229 years of steadfast service, and we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice guarding our Nation’s precious liberties and cherished freedoms.

May God watch over all of our men and women in uniform, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.