Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day is a single day in May used to honor all of the men and women who serve in the military. Every military soldier that has been in the front lines has a story, but not all of them live to tell it. This Day is used to honor those who didn’t live to tell their stories. It’s to remember those who lost their lives to fight for us and our freedom.

Armed Forces Day was originally split up into three different days, Navy, Army, and,  Air Force. Secretary of Defence, Louis Johnson decided to combine them all into one day on August 31, 1949, but they all had to drop the sponsor for their specific celebration.

All but the Marine Corps dropped their sponsor. The Marine Corps refused to drop their sponsor therefore being the only Armed Forces division to have their own day of celebration, which is celebrated on November 10. The Marine Corps does support Armed Forces day despite not being a part of it.

President Truman said at the announcement speech for Armed Forces Day “It is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desireable peace.”

In a small film from the Presidential Proclamation that took place February 27, 1950, President Truman stated, “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.”

They made the theme for Armed Forces day “Teamed for Defense”. This theme expresses the combination of all the military forces into one celebration and one branch of the government.

Although that was the theme for the 1950 celebration, there were several other purposes behind the day. They put their lives on the line to protect our nation from terrorist and other threats to ensure the survival and freedom of the United States of America.

A New York Times article that was published on May 17, 1952 said, “This is the day on which we have the welcome opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces … to all the individuals who are in the service of their country all over the world. Armed Forces Day won’t be a matter of parades and receptions for a good many of them. They will all be in line of duty and some of them may give their lives in that duty.”

The very first Armed Forces Day which took place May 20, 1950 but was changed to Saturday May 21st, was celebrated by air shows, open houses, parades, and receptions in Washington D.C. 10,000 troops of all branches of the military gathered and marched past the president and his party, and in Berlin, 1,000 troops marched for German civilians at Templehof Airfield.

I knew an Air Force Veteran before they passed away, and he told me many stories of what happened in Vietnam. He said that he flew an aircraft and was one of the jet fighters in the Vietnam war.

He also fought on the ground as well. He was a normal infantry troop. He shot an M14 assault rifle, and he also shot grenade launchers. He lost his sight in war and had to have hearing aids because of all of the gun fire. He always hated the Fourth of July because the fireworks would sound like gunfire and he couldn’t see them, so he didn’t know. He also said that when you go into war, you have to make sure that you tell all of your loved ones goodbye because you didn’t know if you’d make it through the next day.

He loved Armed Forces Day because he got the recognition that he didn’t get years ago when he came home. Vietnam was one of those wars where the soldiers were frowned upon because nobody knew what actually happened. He personally thought that civilians all felt the U.S were the bad guys, and he felt that Armed Forces Day reminds people that everything the United States armed forces does is to help us and our allies. He said it reminds people that we aren’t the the bad guys and all the branches of the military are only here to protect our freedom. He did end up getting the recognition that he deserved for fighting there. He would always say how proud he was to have fought for our freedom and for all of the good, honest, hard working people of America.

Armed Forces day means a lot to people. It ensures that the men and women who put their lives on the line get the recognition they deserve. America is a great country, but it takes great people to make it and keep it great and Armed Forces Day is a way to honor those great men and women.