Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. This year, that also happens to land on May 20, just as the inaugural celebration did. As I read up on it, I learned that those early years were marked by marches, parades, and an opportunity to show off some of the latest in military technical advances. I can imagine this happening and the pride of citizen bystanders lining the streets. Embarrassingly enough however, the only reason I’m aware of Armed Forces Day is because it’s printed in my day planner. And that got me curious and so I googled it. Whatever happened to the marches, parades, and military demonstrations? Are we simply "celebrated" out since this falls between Mother's Day and Memorial Day? Perhaps because this isn’t a federal holiday, and we don’t receive a day off, it’s slipped from our awareness?
Armed Forces Day was created as a day to honor all branches of the armed forces – the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish Armed Forces Day with the first celebration occurring on May 20, 1950. Part of the rationale was to show a united and strong military presence.
The military has always played a significant role in our lives by keeping us safe and securing our American freedoms and way of life. President Kennedy summed it up well in his 1963 Armed Forces Day address:
"Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace--many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth--that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice."
- President John F. Kennedy
If you’re like me, and only recently took note of Armed Forces Day, here are a few ideas for honoring our military service members this Sunday (or any day!): 1) wear red, white, and blue, 2) fly the American flag, 3) write to a service member, 4) donate to a military-based organization, 5) thank the veterans and service members you know or see.
Thank you to all of you who have served honorably. While it may not be apparent at times, there are many of us praying for you and holding you in high regard for your sacrifice and dedication. May you be ever protected as you protect all of us.
Do you have a unique way of celebrating Armed Forces Day? Leave a comment and share what you do.
In honor of Personal History Awareness Month in May, all Remembered Well personal history packages are discounted 15%. Moms and veterans receive an additional 5% throughout May.