US Navy Flag An Appeal to God Esek Hopkins

On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress resolves to create the Continental Navy, the precursor to the United States Navy.

George Washington wrote, “It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.”

So, while waiting for Congress to authorize a navy, Washington commissioned several schooners to cruise and interdict British supply lines.

This first fleet of the Continental Navy flew the “Liberty Tree Flag” with the motto “An Appeal to God.” This is seen in the image below over the left hand of Esek Hopkins, the first commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy. George Washington called him “Admiral Hopkins.”

Divine Service

Here is Article 2 of the Articles for the Government of the United States Navy:

“The commanders of vessels and naval stations to which chaplains are attached shall cause divine service to be performed on Sunday whenever the weather and other circumstances allow it to be done; and it is earnestly recommended to all officers, seamen, and others in the naval service diligently to attend at every performance of the worship of Almighty God.”

Each Sunday at the Naval Academy, the Divine Services conclude with the singing of the first verse of “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” the Navy Hymn:

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid’st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.”

Finally, here is verse 3 of the official song of the U.S. Navy, “Anchors Aweigh”:

“Blue of the mighty deep:
Gold of God’s great sun.
Let these our colors be
Till all of time be done, done, done, done.
On seven seas we learn
Navy’s stern call:
Faith, courage, service true,
With honor, over honor, over all.”


US Navy Flag An Appeal to God

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