Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. Thanks to President Harry S. Truman, it’s a day to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. President Truman led the effort to establish a holiday in order for citizens to unite and to honor our military heroes for their patriotic service in support of the United States of America.
Armed Forces Day is a joint celebration of all six branches of the U.S. military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and yes, even the newly created Space Force. It differs from Veterans Day and Memorial Day in that it also pays tribute to all those in current active duty, but also includes the men and women who have served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard, including the National Guard and Reserve components.
Although, originally, there were single day celebrations for the Army, Navy and Air Force; this format changed on August 21, 1949, when Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day. Stemming from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense, the annual celebration now commemorates all branches of the military during one solitary day.
The first official Armed Forces Day took place on May 20, 1950, and was themed “Teamed for Defense.” In honor of the special day, B-36 Bombers flew over state capitals, a march was led by more than 10,000 veterans and troops in Washington, D.C., and over 33,000 people participated in a New York City parade.
Not that you will these days, but if you see an active duty service member or a veteran, please go up and thank them for serving – thank them for the sacrifice and honor of representing the greatest nation on Earth.