Every third Saturday in May, the United States Celebrates Armed Forces Day to venerate all the brave men and women that previously served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. This day honors all six of the military’s branches — Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force. Read on to learn more about how this holiday originated and why it deserves admiration.
History of the Holiday
Before 1949, each branch had its own day of recognition; but, in response to the forces being recently united within the Department of Defense, Louis Johnson, Secretary of Defense, announced that all days should also be combined into one. All branches agreed to consolidate their recognition under Armed Forces Day, except for the Marine Corps — who initially decided they would continue supporting their individual day of remembrance while also becoming part of Armed Forces Day.
The following year, on the third Saturday in May, the first Armed Forces Day was celebrated. President Harry S. Truman 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.” This excerpt of Truman’s speech is comprehensive for the time, but today would have included land, sea, air, and space — as the Space Force was created in 2019.
Since 1950, Armed Forces Day has served to honor the heroes that have served our country as well as educate our citizens of the different branches in our military. While we commemorate the service and accomplishments of our troops, it’s essential to remember that many are unable to celebrate beside us because they have given all in the line of duty — and for these courageous men and women, we will always remain thankful.