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Armed Forces Day
Holidays Main
armed forces day tank  
ARMED FORCES DAY

Date:Third Saturday in May

Significance:
To honor all United States Military forces and the work they do to protect the country.

Traditions and ideas:

Fly the American Flag
Talk or write a letter to a soldier
Read an article online about the military
Watch a patriotic movie
Discuss the importance of the military
Wear red, white, and blue clothing


~ History of Armed Forces Day ~


Uniting the Forces

Armed Forces Day was created on August 31, 1949. The holiday was supported and approved by President Harry S. Truman who wanted to show that America’s military was ready for any threat or challenge. One of the purposes of the holiday was to combine the separate holidays celebrated by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. It was requested that each of these organizations should drop the dates of their individual celebrations to accept the date of Armed Forces Day observance on the third Saturday of May.

The Army, Navy, and Air Force complied with the Armed Forces Day change, and are recognized together on Armed Forces Day. The Marines and the Coast Guard, however, retained their individual dates of establishment, but also agreed to observe Armed Forces Day as an additional celebration. The end result was that each segment of the military did join Armed Forces Day for observance, but the Marines and Coast Guard also retained their original celebrations.


Objectives of Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day was implemented to achieve several objectives: to unite all segments of the military under the Department of Defense, to expand public understanding of the military and its purpose in war and peace, to present a showing of the latest equipment and technologies that protect the public, to demonstrate that the military is ready for any threat or challenge, and finally to honor all of the people who serve in each segment of the military. The intentions and goals of the holiday have been honorable from its inception, but Armed Forces Day has missed some public acclaim because its purpose has been poorly understood.


Confusion in the Mix

The novelty of the first Armed Forces Day brought it much attention and grandeur. It was celebrated with parades, air shows, and military interaction. It appeared that the intent of the holiday was being fulfilled. In time, however, the holiday drifted somewhat into obscurity in many parts of the nation. Some of the public became confused about the purpose of Armed Forces Day.

Combining the celebrations of each segment of the military into one holiday, effectively camouflaged the reason to celebrate the day. It was almost like combining Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. The celebrations all have something in common, but when you put them together, they lose something in the translation. It is easy to understand that “Army Day” celebrates the Army and so forth, but the creation of Armed Forces Day made the reason for the celebration more obscure. With Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day added to the equation, many find it difficult to understand the reason that each military holiday is celebrated.


Publicity and Purpose

In fairness, there may still be hope for Armed Forces Day to achieve the greatness it was created to achieve. It appears that much of the confusion about the holiday stems from a lack of promotional instruction and publicity about the holiday. Perhaps a little clarification of the purpose of each military holiday may help to increase the level of public appreciation for Armed Forces Day.

Here are the three significant military holidays and a short description of their purposes and importance:

Holiday

Purpose and Importance

Memorial Day To honor all who have died in wars and actions taken to defend and protect the United States of America.


Distinguishing feature of Memorial Day: Honor those who
died in war and conflict.
Veteran’s Day To honor all who have served in the military—especially to recognize those who have fought in wars or actions taken to protect the United States of America.


Distinguishing feature of Veteran’s Day: Honor all soldiers who have put their lives in danger to protect the United States.
Armed Forces Day

To honor all United States military forces and the work they do to protect the country.

To increase understanding, and respect for all segments of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard)

To learn more about what the military is and what it does in war and peace.

To demonstrate that the United States military is ready for any challenge or threat that it may face.

To honor all people who serve in the Armed Forces.


Distinguishing feature of Armed Forces Day: To honor all who serve in the military today and to demonstrate the military’s preparedness to face any threat or challenge.


Understanding the Military Holidays


Each of the military holidays has a specific meaning and purpose. The purpose of Memorial Day is to remember all who have died to protect the United States of America. The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor those who have put their lives in danger for the country. The purpose of Armed Forces Day is to honor all that the military is and what it does everyday to protect the United States of America. All of these holidays are important. They help us to honor everything the military does to protect the United States of America.



Observing Armed Forces Day

Although there are not parades and air shows to enjoy in every part of the nation on Armed Forces Day, every American can celebrate the holiday with the patriotism and respect it deserves. Here are a few traditions and ideas to try on Armed Forces Day:

Fly the American flag
Talk or write a letter to a soldier
Read an article online about any segment of the military
Watch a patriotic movie
Discuss the importance of the military as a family
Wear red, white, and blue clothing or decorative jewelry

 

Armed Forces Day is a day to honor every segment of the United States Military. It is a day to be distinguished from all other holidays as a celebration of the power that protects us everyday. Armed Forces Day is a day to fly a flag and to share as a family fond feelings for the powerful force that seeks to preserve peace in the world. Let us all remember the third Saturday of May with greater conviction and patriotism than ever before. It is up to us—America’s citizens—to honor our military with the respect it deserves on Armed Forces Day.

 

Try Our Armed Forces Day Word Puzzles

Armed Forces Day Crossword"

"Armed Forces Day Word Search"



- Article by Wes Fessler

Holiday HistoryMORE HOLIDAYS
at Family Fun Shop


 

Sources:

1. United States Department of Defense,  “A Tradition of Heroes”
http://www.defenselink.mil/afd/military/history.html  [20 July 2007]

2. United States Department of Defense,  “Armed Forces Day”
http://www.defenselink.mil/mil/afd/  [Accessed 20 July 2007]

3. Larson, Rahn, Cottonwood County Citizen Online,  “Armed Forces Day”
http://www.windomnews.com/main.asp?
SectionID=5&SubSectionID=117&ArticleID=16830&TM=38780.71 
Accessed [Accessed 20 July 2007]

4. en.wikipedia.org  “Armed Forces Day”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_Day  [Accessed 20 July 2007]

5. Scheina, Robert,  uscg.mil,  “The Coast Guardd At War”
http://www.uscg.mil/history/h_Cgatwar.html  [Accessed 20 July 2007]

6. defenselink.mil,  “History of Coast Guard Day”
http://www.defenselink.mil/afd/military/coastgrd.html  [Accessed 20 July 2007]

7. defenselink.mil,  “History of Marine Corps Day”
http://www.defenselink.mil/afd/military/marines.html  [Accessed 20 July 2007]


 
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