Armed Forces Day 2015: Understanding The Meaning Of This Overlooked Holiday

Although Armed Forces Day 2015 isn’t one of the 10 federally designated federal holidays, it is still an important day on the calendar. One of three days set aside to celebrate and commemorate the armed forces, veterans, and those who died in the service of America, this day celebrates those who now serve in the military. Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, commemorates those who died serving America. November 11th is Veteran’s Day and commemorates both the end of World War I and pays tribute to veterans.

According to, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson introduced the holiday in 1949. Prior to introducing Armed Forces Day, each branch of the military had its own holiday to commemorate those serving on active duty. Although all branches now hold their celebrations on the designated day, the Marine Corps also has its own branch celebration in addition to celebrating Armed Forces Day.

Armed Forces Day 2015 is part of a week-long celebration of the military. It is also part of Military Appreciation Month. Many of the holidays set aside to pay tribute to the military and veterans occur in May and include Cold War Veterans’ Day (May 1); VE Day, the end of World War II in Europe (May 8); Military Spouse Appreciation Day, established in 1984; and the most famous, Memorial Day. Armed Forces Day occurs on the third Saturday in May, and Armed Forces Week starts on the second Saturday in May and ends on Armed Forces Day. []

During the Armed Forces Day 2015 tribute, everyone, from celebrities like Stephanie McMahon of the WWE to Vice President Joe Biden, tweeted to thank those in the military for their service.


In 1999 Congress designated May as Military Appreciation Month to pay tribute to those currently serving in the armed forces as well as veterans. Congress encouraged the president to issue a proclamation encouraging local communities to have ceremonies and events to commemorate the service of both military and veterans. Armed Forces Day 2015 included many video tributes to the military. [KTLA5]

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