The Origin of Navy Day
Mrs. Mary Paolozzi—The idea of a special day to honor the Navy and naval personnel was conceived by Mrs. William H. Hamilton of New York City, in 1922.
In 1917, Mrs. Hamilton had founded the National Navy Club of New York for enlisted men of the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. It functioned for 17 years as a home away from home for thousands of enlisted men. Its president was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who maintained his interest in the club after he became governor of New York, and even after he became President of the United States. His mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, was chairman of the Women’s Committee, and his wife, Eleanor, gave much assistance to projects sponsored on behalf of the National Navy Club.
The year 1922 was one of uncertainty for the Navy, and there were those who felt it was a mistake and a waste of taxpayers’ money to maintain what they termed a “large” Navy during peacetime. The uniform, which during war years was a badge of honor, became a symbol in some civilian minds of a professional ne’er-do-well.