Today we celebrate the return of the Hiawatha to the waters of the Bosphorus, where she has ably assisted in charting the course of the longstanding friendship between the United States and Turkey for over 80 years.
The U.S. Consulate General is proud to serve with the Rahmi Koç Museum as co-custodian of this living symbol of our shared history. This day would not be possible without the outstanding dedication and skill of RMK Marine’s master craftsmen who rebuilt and restored this unique vessel from her cedar hull to the brass fixtures on her deck. Their care and attention to detail is shared by the dedicated professionals at the museum who display and maintain her. For their steadfast support and for the generous and visionary leadership of the Rahmi Koç Museum, we are truly grateful.
As co-custodians of the Hiawatha, we are dedicated to preserving the spirit of cooperation and friendship between our two peoples that this vessel has embodied since its first voyage on these waters so many years ago. Whether carrying students on educational excursions, or visitors from around the world, the Hiawatha will continue to promote U.S.-Turkish relations and build greater understanding and appreciation for the history and culture of this remarkable city and the kindness and generosity of its people. As we look to this bright future, I am reminded of the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose epic poem about the ancient Native American leader Hiawatha continues to inspire us today:
From the brow of Hiawatha
Gone was every trace of sorrow,
With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation,
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be, but is not,
Stood and waited Hiawatha.
As the Hiawatha embarks on the next chapter in her remarkable history, I would like to thank Mr. Rahmi Koç and all those who worked on this project for ensuring that the legend of the Hiawatha will endure.