Armed Forces Day has arrived in the U.S. on Saturday, May 20, 2017, following Armed Forces Week. Armed Forces Day proudly honors all five military branches: Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Armed Forces Week began on the second Saturday of May and ended on the third Sunday of May.
The day of honoring the Armed Forces officially began on May 20, in 1950 — this marked the formation of all armed forces organized under the single Department of Defense. Each branch was asked to drop its individual celebration and most obliged.
This year will also be the 100th anniversary of the U.S.’s entry into World War I. Over 4.7 million Americans would ultimately serve in the United States Armed Forces during that terrible conflict, according to the White House.
Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, emphasized the critical importance of America’s armed forces. Truman took office after the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and during the months of World War II. In a speech honoring the formation of Armed Forces Day, President Truman “praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas.”
Truman also stated that our armed forces are “vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace.”
According to ArmedForces.gov, Truman initiated the holiday to thank those in the military for their service.
“President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.”
Military.com also adds that the creation of Armed Forces Day is an attempt to replaces the separate celebration days for the military branches.
“On Aug. 31, 1949, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the armed forces under one agency — the Department of Defense.”
Armed Forces Day is always the third Saturday in May. Both Armed Forces Day and Armed Forces Week fall during Military Appreciation Month which also includes Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Victory in Europe Day (also known as V-E Day), according to Military.com.
Trump’s memo from the White House urged American citizens to display the U.S. flag outside their homes as well as their businesses to show support for those serving in the military during Arms Forces Day.
“I call upon all Americans to display the flag of the United States at their homes and businesses on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to learn more about military service by attending and participating in the local observances of the day.”
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) May 20, 2017
In Truman’s 1950 Presidential Proclamation, created on February 27, he articulated the principles of collaboration, readiness, and preparedness.
“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.”
In 1953, just three years later, Dwight D. Eisenhower, honored Armed Forces Day in a statement honoring the “American fighting man.”
“Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man. For it is he—the soldier, the sailor, the Airman, the Marine—who has fought to preserve freedom. It is his valor that has given renewed hope to the free world that by working together in discipline and faith our ideals of freedom will always prevail.”
Apple CEO’s Tim Cook Thanks ‘Women And Men Who Serve Our Country’
Tim Cook stirred up a slight controversy while congratulating all of the “courageous women & men who serve our country” on Armed Forces Day.
We are indebted to all the courageous women & men who serve our country, and the families who support them. Thank you! #ArmedForcesDay
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 20, 2017
In a similar fashion to Apple CEO, Tim Cook, The Obama Foundation also tweeted a special thanks to the “women and men” who make the military great.
— The Obama Foundation (@ObamaFoundation) May 20, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence Meets Vietnam War Vet
Vice President Mike Pence met with Leo Connelly, a Vietnam War Veteran. Pence sent out a tweet to honor and thank the U.S.’s Arms Forces for their service.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) May 20, 2017
Armed Force Day is not a federal holiday, according to the Heavy. However, to many, it will be celebrated as such, especially to many in America. In the United States, there are only ten federal holidays in the United States, which include: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington’s Birthday, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
The most recently enacted federal holiday is the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., which was recognized in the year 1983.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]