Friday, April 3, 2009

Living History: US Navy to Honor Discovery of North Pole

In this 2008 file photo, the fast attack submarine USS Providence (SSN 719) breaks through the ice at the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first submarine polar transit by the USS Nautilus (SSN 571) in 1958. Providence is en route to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility from its homeport in Groton Conn. (U.S. Navy photo by Yeoman 1st Class J. Thompson.)

Living History:

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2009 -- The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) is conduct a wreath-laying ceremony April 6 at Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Rear Adm. Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson's discovery of the North Pole.

"The Navy and Civil Engineer Corps have long recognized the perseverance and integrity Rear Admiral Robert Peary displayed during the many attempts it took for his team to reach the North Pole in April 1909," said Virginia Bueno, director, public affairs and communications, NAVFAC.

Many members of the Peary and Henson families are planning on attending the ceremony along with other renowned explorers that share the same ambitions as Peary and Henson.

Not only is Peary revered by the United States Navy for his historic quest but is also a hero to the world's exploration community, including British explorer Tom Avery, who in 2005, successfully retraced Peary and Henson's trek to the North Pole in 37 days. Avery and his North Pole team will attend the wreath-laying ceremony.

The appeal of being the first to reach the harsh and dangerous North Pole was sought after by hundreds of explorers in the 1800's and earlier. That desire to be the first, however, was put to an end when a United States Navy Civil Engineer, Robert Peary, and Matthew Henson reached the real geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909.

Their amazing feat took several years of planning and trials to create the historic event - an event that created quite a stir in the world of exploration.

Today, the two explorers and their 18 years of attempting the seemingly impossible are dedicated through monuments all over the world. From naval ships, monuments and high schools, Peary and Henson's names are recognized as the trailblazers to reach the North Pole.

(Report from a Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs news release.)

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