American Minute with Bill Federer 

U.S. Coast Guard "It's our prayer to serve America in peace. It's our commitment to defend her in war." -President Reagan, May 18, 1988
"To sink the foe or save the maimed,
Our mission and our pride,
We'll carry on 'til Kingdom Come,
Ideals for which we've died."

Thus went the original anthem of the U.S. Coast Guard, established AUGUST 4, 1790.

Originally called the Revenue Cutter Service, under the Treasury Department, it consisted of 10 ships charged with stopping smuggling and French privateers from operating in American waters.

During the U.S.-French Quasi War of 1798-1801, eight Revenue Cutter vessels were among the 45 American ships that served in combat.

The U.S Revenue Cutter Service was also charged with stopping slave-traders from bringing more slaves into the United States.

Slaves were bought predominantly from Arab Muslim slave markets of Africa.

Missionary to Africa David Livingstone wrote of witnessing the Muslim Arab slave trade in the mid-19nth century:

"We passed a slave woman shot or stabbed through the body and lying on the path... an Arab who passed early that morning had done it in anger at losing the price he had given for her, because she was unable to walk any longer.

We passed a woman tied by the neck to a tree and dead ... We came upon a man dead from starvation ...

The strangest disease I have seen in this country seems really to be broken heartedness, and it attacks free men who have been captured and made slaves."

David Livingstone estimated that each year over 80,000 Africans died before reaching the slave markets, writing to the editor of the New York Herald:

"If my disclosures regarding the terrible Ujijian slavery should lead to the suppression of the East Coast slave trade, I shall regard that as a greater matter by far than the discovery of all the Nile sources together."

On January 1, 1808, exactly 55 years before Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Congress closed all U.S. ports to the importation of slaves.

The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service intercepted and freed nearly 500 slaves.

The U.S, Revenue Cutter Service defended the United States in every major conflict till it was merged with the U.S. Lifesaving Service in 1915 to form the U.S. Coast Guard.

In 1939, the U.S. Lighthouse Service was merged into the U.S. Coast Guard, as was the Steamboat Inspection Service and Bureau of Navigation in 1946.

In 1967, the U.S. Coast Guard was transferred to the Department of Transportation.

Get the book America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations

President John F. Kennedy remarked aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Training Barque "Eagle," August 15, 1962:

"This is a very ancient service in our country's history.

Its first father...Alexander Hamilton, began the Coast Guard as a revenue collecting service, asked the Congress of the United States for appropriations for 10 vessels...

...The first Eagle was one of our most distinguished warships, and in actions against privateers of France, captured over five vessels, and recaptured seven American vessels...

This is the oldest continuous seagoing service in the United States, stretching back to the beginning of our country."

President Herbert Hoover suggested December 27, 1929:

"A further the definite expansion of the Coast the matter of border patrol."

Included in the list of casualties at the WWII Battle of Okinawa, President Truman stated, June 1, 1945:

"Navy and Coast Guard losses were 4,729 killed and 4,640 wounded."

At the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, September 20, 1952, President Truman stated:

"I was just reading...about the Coast Guard's icebreaker that has been closer to the North Pole than any other ship in delivering food and supplies to a station up there...

That, my young friends, is what makes this country great."

President John F. Kennedy continued his address aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Training Barque "Eagle," August 15, 1962:

"You serve our country in peacetime, on ice patrols and weather patrols, in protecting the standards of the merchant marine, in protecting safety at sea...and in time of war you, with the American Navy, as you did in World War II and at the time of Korea."

At the U.S. Coast Guard commencement in New London, June 3, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson remarked:

"Winston Churchill once said: 'Civilization will not last, freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless mankind unites together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a power before which barbaric forces will stand in awe'...

In every area of national strength America today is stronger than it has ever been before...

It is stronger than the combined might of all the nations in the history of the world. And I confidently predict that strength will continue to grow..."

President Johnson continued:

"No one can live daily, as I must do, with the dark realities of nuclear ruin, without seeking the guidance of God to find the path of peace.

We have built this staggering strength not to destroy but to save, not to put an end to civilization but rather to try to put an end to conflict."

At a U.S. Coast Guard commencement, May 18, 1988, President Reagan stated:

"It's our prayer to serve America in peace. It's our commitment to defend her in war."

Get the book AMERICAN MINUTE-Notable Events of American Significance Remembered on the Date They Occurred

Search AMERICAN MINUTE archives
Watch past FAITH IN HISTORY episodes for FREE

Bill Federer
News from
Invite Bill Federer to speak - large or small groups - email [email protected] or call 314-502-8924


Visit the American Minute archive  



Daily Reading at:

Receive American Minute on your Facebook wall, Twitter feed, or RSS reader.   


Click here to make a donation. Thank you!

Invite Bill Federer to speak
[email protected]      314-502-8924
American Minute is a registered trademark. Permission is granted to forward. reprint or duplicate with acknowledgement to 
Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter