Official Holiday of The Order – Commodore John Barry Day
Proclamation 4853 — Commodore John Barry Day
August 20, 1981
By the President of the United States
Commodore John Barry, hero of the American Revolution and holder of the first commission in the United States Navy under the Constitution, was born in 1745, in County Wexford, Ireland. Commodore Barry was commissioned to command the brig Lexington, one of the first ships bought and equipped for the Revolution, and became a national hero with the engagement and capture of the British warship Edward on April 7, 1776. He distinguished himself throughout the Revolution and again shortly thereafter in the Quasi-War with France as a fighter and seaman.
In 1797, with the advice and consent of the Senate, President Washington appointed Commodore Barry Captain in the Navy of the United States and Commander of the Frigate United States. In so doing, the President said that he placed “special Trust and Confidence in (Commodore Barry’s) Patriotism, Valour, Fidelity, and Abilities”.
Commodore Barry was honored by the United States Congress in 1906, when a statue was commissioned and later placed in Lafayette Park, Washington, District of Columbia, and honored again some fifty years later when President Eisenhower caused a statue of Commodore Barry to be presented on behalf of the people of the United States to the people of Ireland, at County Wexford, Ireland.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate September 13, 1981, as “Commodore John Barry Day”, as a tribute to one of the earliest and greatest American Patriots, a man of great insight who perceived very early the need for American power on the sea. I call upon Federal, state, and local government agencies and the people of the United States to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixth.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 3:06 p.m., August 21, 1981]