Armed Forces Day

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Armed Forces Day was established by Presidential Proclamation on February 27, 1950 and is celebrated on the 3rd Saturday in May.

This day is seen as an opportunity to pay special tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. These forces include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

In 1947, the Army, Navy, and Air Force were brought together under the newly established Department of Defense. Then in 1949, an announcement was made to combine Army Day, Navy Day, and Air Force Day in order to celebrate as one, just as they had been consolidated under the Department of Defense.

In the Presidential Proclamation creating this day on February 27, 1950, believing that a unified force was vital to the security of our nation as well as to the establishment of peace, President Harry S. Truman declared:

Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration of 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.

The first Armed Forces Day was a way to educate the public and their understanding of the role of the Armed Forces in civilian life. It was also an opportunity to show state-of-the-art equipment that helped protect the civilians. And, it was a way to pay honor to the men and women of the United States military.

The theme of that first day of celebration was “Teamed for Defense”. Through the years a number of themes have been used:

- Protectors of Freedom
- Special Opportunity for Thanks
- Prepared to Meet the Challenge
- Dedication and Devotion
- Patriotism
- Liberty
- Guardians of Peace
- Freedom
- United in Strength (2010)

Although all branches of the military support this day of recognition, Navy Day, organized by the Navy League of the United States, a civilian organization, continues to celebrate on October 13th. It was on this day in 1775 that the Continental Navy was formed.

In addition, the U.S. Marine Corps continues to celebrate USMC Day on November 10th. This was the day during the Revolutionary War that the Continental Congress authorized the creation of the Continental Marines in 1775.

You can enjoy this celebration for more than one day. Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday in May and ends on the third Sunday in May, the day following Armed Forces Day.

Thank you to all men and women who serve our country!

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