Every third Saturday in May, the United States celebrates Armed Forces Day. Learn more about where the tradition comes from and why we celebrate the day.
Armed Forces Day is a lesser known holiday around the United States but still a very important day that deserves honor. But, where does the holiday stem from and why do we celebrate it? This year, the holiday falls on May 18th, 2013.
Armed Forces Day dates back to 1949 when the secretary of defense Louis Johnson announced its creation. The first official holiday landed on May 20th, 1950. The holiday was meant to replace all the separate military holidays such as Army, Navy, and Air Force Days. The holiday began when all the military branches unified under one department – the Department of Defense.
President Harry Truman made an official speech announcing the holiday where he “praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas.” He also established a theme for the first holiday as “Teamed for Defense.”
Along with honoring the military and the work they do for our country, Armed Forces Day holds another purpose. The holiday is also meant to be an educational tool for US citizens that don’t know very much about the different military branches. Armed Forces Day is dedicated to creating awareness around each branch and honoring their role in keeping the country safe.
The United States isn’t the only state with a holiday dedicated to the military. Several others nations such as Australia, Brazil, Italy, Spain and more have holidays with similar intent.
Armed Forces Day falls on May 18 this year; take some extra time to learn about a branch of the military or thank someone currently in a military uniform. Better yet, fly a flag in their honor to show them just how much you appreciate what they do.