Armed Forces Day is a day to pay tribute to the men and women who are currently serving in the United States’ armed forces. Celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May (as part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May), Armed Forces Day was created on August 31, 1949 by Defense Secretary Louis Johnson. This was to replace the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days into a single day celebration stemming from the unification of the armed forces under one agency, the Department of Defense. The separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.
US Army Day : June 14th
US Coast Guard Day : August 4th
US Air Force Day: September 17th
US Navy Day: October 27th
Marine Corps Day: November 10th
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on Saturday, May 20th, 1950. The theme for that day was “Teamed for Defense”, which expressed the unification of all military forces under one government department. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the day was designed to expand public understanding of what type of job was performed and the role of the military in civilian life. It was also a day for the military to show “state-of-the-art” equipment to Americans. Parades, open houses, receptions and air shows were held at the inaugural Armed Forces Day.
Today, Americans come out to celebrate Armed Forces Day by the thousands. Many events take place in cities across the country to honor those who serve. Activities often include parades, military service displays open to the public, educational exhibits to teach children about the armed forces, “Support the Troops” motorcycle rides and more. The bugle call “Taps” is often played at these events as a way to show respect for those who died for their country.
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