Armed Forces Day is celebrated each year on the third Saturday in May (May 20, 2017). On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day. Prior to the creation of that day, the Army, Navy and Air Force each held their own celebration. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department, the Department of Defense. Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day.
"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." -New York Times, May 14, 1952
How can you celebrate this special day? Although there aren't parades and air shows to enjoy in every part of the nation, every American can celebrate the holiday with the patriotism and respect it deserves. Above all else, reflect on our military and how they have fought for our freedom and continue to do so.