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May 21 2005

Armed Forces Day 2005

202armedforcesday.jpg

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department--the Department of Defense.

It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953

Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man. For it is he--the soldier, the sailor, the Airman, the Marine--who has fought to preserve freedom. It is his valor that has given renewed hope to the free world that by working together in discipline and faith our ideals of freedom will always prevail.

Admiral Forrest P. Sherman

Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.

President John F. Kennedy, 1962

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.

It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem. Perhaps if we are a little more conscious of our debt of honored affection they may be a little more aware of how much we think of them.

New York Times, May 17, 1952

(Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May. Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May, the day after Armed Forces Day. Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May.)

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