In the United States, Armed Forces Day is observed annually on the third Saturday in May. The holiday involves all branches of the U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, and was established as a day for citizens to honor the men and women who give their all in support of their country.
“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.”
—–U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower
Want to learn more about Armed Forces Day? Here are some Historic Facts that will put you in the know!
When Was Armed Forces Day Created? On August 31, 1949, Louis Johnson – then Secretary of Defense – announced Armed Forces Day. The holiday was intended to replace the separate holidays honoring the five branches of U.S. armed forces (though the individual days are still celebrated within each service), and also marked the unification of the military branches under the Department of Defense.
Who’s Idea Was Armed Forces Day? President Harry S. Truman first proposed a single Armed Forces Day, and led the effort to adopt it. Later, he said, “Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”
When Did Armed Forces Day Become an Official National Holiday? Under President John F. Kennedy, who on March 18, 1961, issued Proclamation 3399.
What Do People Do on Armed Forces Day? Celebrations often include parades – in fact, Bremerton, Washington, holds the record for the longest running city-sponsored Armed Forces Day Parade, now entering its 64th year in 2012- air shows, receptions, exhibits and exhibitions, flying the American flag, and lots more.
“This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces … to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won’t be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty.” —–New York Times, May 17, 1952
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Since 1949, Americans have joined other countries around the world in celebrating Armed Forces Week (beginning 2nd Saturday in May), culminating in Armed Forces Day (3rd Sunday in May). Every U.S. military branch – Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard – is recognized, remembered and honored. This year, Armed Forces Day falls on May 21st.
If you know an active military service member, now’s a great time to send a heart-warming greeting card. It’s a great way to stay in touch – tell a loved one you miss them, support our troops, or thank a friend for their dedication to duty and service to their country. Sending cards and letters is so important because nobody appreciates mail from friends and family like a man or woman serving far away from home!
At last! In sight of home again,
Of home again;
No more to range and roam again
As at that bygone time?
No more to go away from us
And stay from us? –
Dawn, hold not long the day from us,
But quicken it to prime!
If you haven’t already gotten in touch with your favorite soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, there’s plenty of time to pick a unique card, add your own message, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Order 10+ cards and Save! Pay $3.00 $2.49 per card. Use code 2011MAY249 – Ends May 13, 2011.