Photos: US Navy League Madrid Council
The Navy League of the United States has impeccable origins. It was founded in 1902 at the suggestion of Theodore Roosevelt, the 22nd President of the United States (1901-1909) and consistently considered one of the greatest by scholars. “Teedie”, second of four children of wealthy parents, was sickly and exuberant. Very bright too. He was Phi Beta Kappa at Harvard where he finished his AB magna cum laude. (He went on to study Law at Columbia.)
At Harvard Teddy Roosevelt (he was a distant cousin to Franklin D. Roosevelt) developed an interest in naval affairs. He, in fact, began to write the scholarly The Naval War of 1812 which would be published in 1882 after he graduated. It was a time when the United States was growing into a major sea power and not much later would wrestle the Philippines from Spain out in the Pacific.
The Navy League is a non-profit support organization, “a civilian organization dedicated to the education of [US] citizens, including [their] elected officials, and the support of the men and women of the sea services and their families,” as the League describes itself. The “sea services” are the US Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the US Flag Merchant Marine.
“It seems to me,” said Roosevelt, “that all good Americans interested in the growth of their country and sensitive to its honor should give hearty support to the policies on which the Navy League is founded.”
In 1904 the Russo-Japanese War broke out as a result of the Russian and Japanese imperial rivalry over Manchuria and Korea. It was known as the “first great war” of the twentieth century. Roosevelt brokered the peace and in 1906 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He would be one of only three incumbent US presidents to win the prize. He donated monies from it to the Navy League, making it possible for the League to become an incorporated organization.
Today the Navy League has some 50,000 civilian members around the world, forming 250 councils. Five of these are in Spain, among them the Madrid Council.
For a Council of a naval-oriented organization, the Madrid Council is unique: it is in a landlocked location. As a Council in Spain it aims to provide support and recognition for the US forces based in this country “in order that [the United States] may continue to have capable and responsive peacekeepers.” Equally important, the Madrid Council aims “to foster close and friendly relations with [its] host nation, Spain, and especially the Spanish Armada and Armed Forces.”
Being part of the Navy League, the Madrid Council naturally assumes the League’s objectives. To wit:
• To foster and maintain interest in a strong Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine as an integral part of a sound national defense, vital to peace keeping and the freedom of the United States
• To serve as a means of educating and informing all peoples with regard to the role of sea power in the nuclear age and the problems involved in maintaining strong defenses in that age
• To improve the understanding and appreciation of those who wear the uniforms of the US armed forces and to better the conditions under which they live and serve.
The Madrid Council is undoubtedly a social organization. But it is just undoubtedly a part of the Navy League of the United States which would suggest at least a certain interest in military affairs.
Because of the Council’s social nature, an aspiring member must be “good company.” He/she must “know how to listen as well as talk.” He may opine differently from the others but he doesn’t attempt to impose his opinions on them nor monopolize conversations.
It may sound old-fashioned but Council members are “ladies and gentlemen” – honorable people who are “unfailingly courteous.” So must the applicant be.
And since the Madrid Council is part of the Navy League, the applicant for membership must support the League’s aims and help foment close relations with Spain, especially the Spanish Armada.
While most members of the Madrid Council come from the business sector and hold top positions, others are middle-rank and/or from other fields. It goes without saying that the would-be member will come from diverse backgrounds.
All nationalities are welcome to the Council. Those who would like to be a part of a peace effort that loves social and cultural meetings may send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
24 January: Regular dinner meeting. Speaker: Sr. D. Carlos Suarez, Executive Vice President, INDRA. Topic: INDRA on Cyber Security
21 February: Regular dinner meeting. Speaker: Dr. D. Hugo O’Donnell, Duke of Tetuan. Topic: The Treasure of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes
TBA April: Regular dinner meeting. Speaker: TBA. Election night
TBA May: Reception at the Embassy of the United States
TBA June: Admiral David Farragut Memorial, and Commemoration of the US Presence on Menorca and Mahon
27 June: Regular dinner meeting. Speaker: TBA
15-16 July: Graduation ceremonies, Escuela Militar Naval, Marin (Pontevedra)
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