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Commercial boats and ships blast horns to salute maritime industry workers

The display, organized by the Virginia Maritime Association, was meant to thank those who've worked through the COVID-19 pandemic.

NORFOLK, Va. — It was a special "thank you" offered in a way that perhaps only Hampton Roads could.

For 30 seconds on the downtown Norfolk Elizabeth River waterfront, commercial vessels sounded their horns.

It was a scene that was repeated on the James River.

The Virginia Maritime Association organized the display to salute the state's 530,000 maritime industry frontline workers who have kept commerce moving and work happening throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The men and women on the docks and driving the trucks and operating the warehouses are vital to keeping the supply line moving and our shelves stocked during the time," said Michael Coleman, president of the Virginia Maritime Association.

"We recognized that so many people on the frontline of the maritime supply chain that are playing their role and putting themselves at risk going to work each day to keep the economy moving and to keep vital supplies moving to our hospitals and our households," said Daniel White, Virginia Maritime Association vice-president.

The Virginia Maritime Association -- made up of more than 400 member companies -- was founded in 1920 to promote, protect and encourage international and domestic commerce through the Port of Virginia.

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