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Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day is a special holiday for people all over the world to come together and thank the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. First conceived by President Harry S. Truman, the holiday was established in 1949. The creation of a single-day celebration for all five branches of the United States military made sense due to its recent unification under the Department of Defense. Today, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of every May, this year falling on May 18. Be sure to mark your calendar & support our military!


The history of the United States Armed Forces spans over two centuries. The United States rapidly evolved from being a new nation fighting for independence against Great Britain between 1775 and 1783, to fighting in the landmark American Civil War from 1861 to 1865, to proving their valor and strength during World War II, and finally emerging as a world superpower towards the end of the 20th century. The U.S. armed forces comprise five branches of the military: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. 

The origin of the United States Army dates back to 1775 when the Continental Congress established the Continental Army, Continental Navy, and Continental Marines, commanded and led by General George Washington. This newly assembled military force fought the British during the American Revolutionary War with French soldiers by its side, leading to the Treaty of Paris and its independence. In 1789, the new Constitution delegated the president as the commander in chief of the military, with the authority to create laws, levy taxes, and declare war. 

Ever since its formation, the primary responsibility of the Army division of the Armed Forces is to fight battles on land and deploy the military for takeover. The United States Army Corps of Engineers mainly control the rivers of inland America. Following the war against the British Army, the U.S. Army was still relatively small and operating in peacetime. This changed in the 1940s when the Air Force became a completely separate unit outside of the Army Air Forces. In 1947, control of the U.S. Army switched over from the War Department to the Defense Department. 

The major wars that the U.S. Army participated in were the Indian Wars of the 1790s, the War of 1812, the American Civil War in 1861, the Spanish-American War of 1898, World Wars I and II in 1917 and 1941 respectively, the Korean War in 1950, and the Vietnam War in 1965. The U.S. military also took part in the Gulf War in 1991 and the war in Afghanistan. 

As of 2019, the Armed Forces of America fall under the command of the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard, which is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security. 

The President of the United States is the commander in chief and they exercise their authority through the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who supervises combat operations.


1.Go to a parade

National Armed Forces Day is traditionally celebrated with parades honoring military service. Open houses, air shows, and other local celebrations usually accompany a parade. There are numerous local parades across the United States; there is sure to be one near you!

2.Visit a public military display

Military or government personnel will routinely set up historical or educational displays for the public. Visiting a showcase like this can be eye-opening as well as fun. This also gives civilians an opportunity to interact with military personnel face-to-face.

3.Visit a military memorial or cemetery

There are often special ceremonies at military memorials or cemeteries on National Armed Forces Day. Buglers perform the memorial song “Taps” in honor of fallen soldiers. This is a great way to show respect and appreciation for members of the military.


A. The armed forces deserve our respect

Joining the US Armed Forces is an incredibly selfless act that deserves recognition. Soldiers and other military personnel risk their lives every day to keep citizens safe. This holiday is an opportunity for the average person to show support for that sacrifice.

B. It helps spread awareness and understanding

National Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to educate yourself or others. The holiday was originally designed to help citizens better understand the military and its role in our society. We can all do our part by spreading knowledge and understanding.

C. It is for all five branches of the military

The military is made up of five branches — the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. This holiday is intended for members of all five of these branches. Originally it was meant to replace separate branch appreciation holidays, but these are also still celebrated today.


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