The yearly pre-Thanksgiving gathering at the hiring hall in Oakland, California, lived up to its well-earned reputation as an uplifting event not to be missed.
Guests packed the hall Nov. 26 (two days before the actual holiday) for the twenty-ninth straight year. They were treated to a traditional and generous menu, remarks by members of the United States Congress, and abundant fellowship.
Attendees included Seafarers, pensioners and their families; military personnel from the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard; representatives of other labor organizations; shipping company executives; personnel from the local police and fire fighting communities; and others.
“It was an exciting event as always, and around here it’s really known as the beginning of the holiday season,” said SIU Assistant Vice President Nick Celona, who once again worked closely with the committee that organized the gathering.
“The guests seemed very happy and the speakers’ remarks were excellent,” he added.
Celona also noted the outstanding volunteer work of SIU retiree Louella Sproul, who played a big role in setting up the hall.
“She’s been part of it from the beginning,” Celona noted.
As usual, while the luncheon’s tone was cheerful and relaxed, remarks from the podium underscored the value of the U.S. Merchant Marine. In particular, speakers stressed the industry’s vital contributions to America’s national, economic and homeland security; its service as the fourth arm of defense; and its respectful partnership with our military.
For photos from the event, visit the SIU Facebook page here.