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Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. This year it will be celebrated on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Thanks to President Harry S. Truman, it’s a day to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. President Truman led the effort to establish a holiday in order for citizens to unite and to honor our military heroes for their patriotic service in support of the United States of America.
Although, originally, there were single day celebrations for each branch of the military, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force; this format changed on August 21, 1949, when Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day. Stemming from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense, the annual celebration now commemorates all branches of the military during one solitary day.
The first Armed Forces Day also played an essential part in educating society and expanding public knowledge of the military and the role they play in the community. Therefore, it wasn’t only a means to honor those who serve or who have served in the military, but also a way to showcase its top of the line equipment and abilities used to protect those in our country.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy declared Armed Forces Day a national holiday. It’s celebrated on the third Saturday of every May and is exhibited by exercises, parades, and receptions that highlight and honor our amazing military and all of its strength.
“Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace–many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth–that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”
– John F. Kennedy, Former President of the United States of America, 1963
The importance of this day should always be evident. It is a day that our military members rightly deserve and it’s essential that we celebrate it accordingly.