Remember the Maine Day is annually celebrated on February 15th. It is an anniversary of the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor to remember those that died that day.
History of Remember the Maine Day
Today we remember Maine, the American battleship that exploded today in 1898 while moored in Havana Harbor. Commanded by Captain Charles G. Sigsbee, she was one of the first American battleships, costing more than $2 million to build and weighing more than 6,000 tons. Obviously, its duties in the harbor were friendly, but its real purpose was to protect American lives and property. Cuba is in the midst of an uprising from Spain, and as Cuba seeks independence, it is believed that an all-out war could break out at any moment. The United States has also long had an eye on Cuba, hoping to expand its influence there and in the region.
About 350 crew members were on board the ship that fateful Tuesday evening. Just after 9 p.m., the ship's fixer, C.H. Newton, blow the hose. At 9:40 p.m., there was an explosion which rocked the boat. A second large explosion followed, breaking the bow of the ship, throwing debris more than 200 feet into the air. The ship quickly sank and about 266 of the crew were killed.
The American press immediately began to point to an external explosion by a mine or torpedo at the hands of Spain as the cause of the ship's destruction. In March, the US Naval Investigative Court determined that a mine had caused the explosion, but they did not directly blame Spain. Although there was not enough evidence to prove that Spain blew up the ship, the American public and members of Congress ignored this and blamed them, then called for war.
On April 25, 1898, the United States officially declared war on Spain. In August, the United States won and the armistice was signed. The Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898 officially ended the war. Spain handed over the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the United States. Cuba soon gained independence, but the United States maintained a strong influence there.
Ultimately, the cause of the Maine explosion remains inconclusive. Some still believe that Spain is to blame. In 1976, the US Navy's Hyman Rickover Ads began an investigation into the cause. The results showed that the explosion came from inside the ship, most likely due to a coal pit fire. Most people agree with this assessment.
Various venues host events during the day. A service was held at the Battleship Maine Memorial in Davenport Park in Bangor, Maine, where the shield and scrolls recovered from the store were located. Starting in 2011, a group began organizing an "all-day patriotic bistro crawling through historic Boston," where participants attempt to "drink at least 266 drinks in memory of 266 brave men." was sacrificed aboard the USS Maine on February 15, 1898, in Havana Harbor as a result of Spain's treachery." Patriotic costumes were worn, and those who did not know the story of Maine are educated and encouraged to participate in festivals. New York has also participated for a number of years, and organizers have also allowed virtual participation, so people who don't live in those cities can still join a drink party full of Maine memories.
How to Observe Remember the Maine Day
Here are some ideas on how to memorize Maine:
- Attended the ceremony held at the Battleship Maine Memorial in Bangor, Maine.
- Visit the USS Maine National Monument in New York City or the USS Maine Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.
- Visit the Memorial to the Victims of Maine in Havana, Cuba.
- Attend a Remember the Maine Day patriotic pub crawl in Boston. The pub crawl also took place in New York City. According to the event's Facebook page, 2020 is the last year it will be held. In the past, those unable to make it to Boston were encouraged to celebrate virtual. If you can't make it to Boston, or if the event is no longer being held, you can also organize a Remember Maine patriotic pub crawl in your community. Dress up in patriotic clothes and attack the town!
- See photos of and related to Maine.
- Watch documentaries about the Spanish-American War, such as Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War or The Spanish American War: First Intervention.
- Read a book about Maine.
ObservedRemember the Maine Day has been observed annually on February 15th.
Saturday, February 15th, 2020
Monday, February 15th, 2021
Tuesday, February 15th, 2022
Wednesday, February 15th, 2023
Thursday, February 15th, 2024