Today we celebrate and honor our armed forces!

On May 15, more than 70 countries celebrate Armed Forces Day. The day honors serving members of the military. In the United States, we honor members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force.

In the United States, Armed Forces Day was established in August 1949 and first celebrated on May 20, 1950 under President Truman. It was first called a national holiday by President Kennedy in 1962. It is celebrated on the third Saturday in May at the end of Armed Forces Week.

In instituting the celebration, President Truman wished to express the nation’s appreciation for the armed forces who protect our way of life and promote world peace and recognize our troops at home and across the sea. of the Armed Forces was also designed as a morale boost for the troops.

The holiday was intended to replace separate days for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, as all armed services fell under the new Department of Defense. However, the respective services still celebrate and observe their separate day.

In a speech to commemorate the first celebration, Truman explained how the armed forces had continued to make progress under the National Security Act and worked together toward “the goal of being prepared for any eventuality.”

5th SFG Army Green Berets wear Vietnam War tiger stripe uniforms during an exercise. (DVIDS)

Meaning and Difference – Armed Forces Day and Veterans Day

However, Armed Forces Day should not be confused with Veterans Day. The former celebrates the men and women still serving in the Armed Forces, while Veterans Day honors veterans.

On May 19, 2017, President Trump reaffirmed the holiday, marking the 70th anniversary since the establishment of the Department of Defense and the first celebration of the holiday.

Apart from Armed Forces Day, the Armed Forces and National Guard Bureau are honored on the following days:

  • March 29: Vietnam Veterans Day (all U.S. military branches)
  • Last Monday in May: Memorial Day
  • June 14: Flag Day and Army Day (United States Army)
  • August 4: Coast Guard Day (United States Coast Guard)
  • September 18: Air Force Day (United States Air Force)
  • October 13: Anniversary of the US Navy (United States Navy)
  • October 27: Navy Day (United States Navy)
  • November 10: Marine Corps Birthday (United States Marine Corps)
  • November 11: Veterans Day
  • December 13: National Guard Day (United States National Guard)
A Seahawk helicopter drops a beanbag on the amphibious ship USS Boxer during a drill. (DVIDS)

To celebrate this year’s holiday, the White House issued the following statement,

“The armed forces of the United States are the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. They uphold universal values ​​and advance the cause of freedom around the world. On this day, we salute and show our gratitude to all who serve and are committed to ensuring that our armed forces remain strong, united and unmatched.

President Joe Biden reiterated this and added, “I call on all Americans to fly the United States flag in their homes and businesses on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to learn more about the military service by attending and participating in local celebrations. of the day.”

The Ministry of Defense sent the following message via Twitter,

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