Armed Forces Day was created to help unify the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense, but this branch still celebrates their own day.
The United States government has made it a priority to set aside days to recognize those courageous patriots who have fought for our freedoms. There are multiple days to commemorate Veteran’s including the National Day of Honor, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day, to name a few.
Have you ever wondered why there are no days to commemorate soldiers of the separate military branches? There IS still a branch of the military that celebrates its own day.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate days for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Each branch of the military was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in an effort to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. All adopted the newly formed day; however, the Marine Corps still celebrates its own day, along with Armed Forces Day.
This single day celebration was led by President Harry S. Truman’s efforts to unify the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. Thus, Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday in May. Essentially, it is a holiday for citizens to come together and thank our current and former military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
The theme for the first Armed Forces Day was ‘Teamed for Defense’; A fitting theme to express the unification of all the military forces under a single Department of Defense. The day also serves as a way to educate citizens on military programs, expand public understanding of the role of military in civilian life, display new equipment used by the military, and honor/acknowledge the soldiers of the Armed Forces of the United States.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower described the significance of the day best in 1953 when he stated, “It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”
Armed Forces Day 2014 is today, May 17th! Enjoy the day and make sure to thank a member of the Armed Forces if you get a chance.