Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May and honors those currently serving in our American Armed Forces. This year it falls on May 18.
Those who are honored on Armed Forces Day include people who serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day over any period in May because of their unique training schedules.
Some events and activities held in some communities include: multi service military displaces in areas open to the public; various educational activities that teach children about the armed forces; “Support the Troops” themed motorcycle rides; and parades and other local celebrations. I do not know of any of these types of celebrations in our area.
On August 31, 1949, Louis Johnson, who was the United States’ Secretary of Defense, announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, and Air Force Days. The event stemmed from the Armed Forces’ unification under one department – the Department of Defense.
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on Saturday, May 20, 1950. The theme for the day was “Teamed for Defense” which expressed the unification of all military forces under one government department. According to the U. S. Department of Defense, the day was designed to expand public understanding of what type of job was performed and the role of the military in civilian life.
On July 26, 1947, President Harry S Truman signed the National Security Act, which united all four branches of the military under one department of the government. In 1947, the National Military Establishment was created as a result of the National Security Act. The Department of Defense replaced the National Military Establishment in 1949.
On the inaugural Armed Forces Day in 1949, B-36 Bombers flew over every U. S. State Capitol. On March 18, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued Proclamation 3399, making Armed Forces Day an official national holiday.
The American Flag is traditionally flown on Armed Forces Day. People frequently wear patriotic colored clothing to commemorate the occasion. Sea, air, and land military exercises are held on Armed Forces Day to recognize service members and display their state-of-the-art equipment.
So let us not forget to honor our brave military on Armed Forces Day and to tell them how much we appreciate their service to defend America.
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