How low… can you go? How low… can you go? When it comes to National Submarine Day, we imagine it’s pretty low.
Believe it or not, the first recorded submersible was built by Cornelius Drebbel in 1620 for James I of England, although why anyone would want to plunge beneath the surface of a 17th century Thames is beyond us. April 11, 1900 however is when the American Government purchased its first commissioned submarine, the USS Holland. USS Holland was the United States Navy’s first commissioned submarine, named for her Irish-American inventor, John Philip Holland, although not the first submarine of the US Navy, which was the 1862 Alligator. The boat was originally laid down as Holland VI, and launched on 17 May 1897.
Today’s submarines are of course far more sophisticated than that particular oar-powered contraption, having played major parts in military operations for over a century. The amount of expertise that goes into their design, construction, maintenance and operation is quite staggering, especially when you take into account the inclusion of navigation and communication networks; sensors, armaments and weaponry; powerful propulsion systems; and of course, a large number of rigorously trained and highly skilled men and women, often putting their lives on the line for their countries.
So today can take many forms: We can think about the ingenuity and majesty of the mighty submarine itself. We can celebrate its place in the modern world. We can imagine what they’ll be like in a hundred years’ time. But most importantly, we can take a moment to think about those lost at sea over the years, and pay tribute to the courage of those who are beneath the ocean waves at this exact moment in time.