Thursday, May 13, 2010

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.” From a New York Times article published May 17, 1952.

Armed Forces Day was officially declared on August 31, 1949 by Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson and first celebrated on May 20, 1950. The day was created after the unification of all branches of the Armed Forces under one department – the Department of Defense. The Army, Navy and Air Force Leagues adopted the newly formed day in lieu of their own; the Marine Corps League chose not to drop their own day but agreed to support Armed Forces Day as well.

Armed Forces Day is always celebrated on the third Saturday in May, May 15 this year – the theme will be “United in Strength.”

There are many ways to honor the Armed Forces on this special day. Many military bases across the country host ‘open house’ events. Some local and area VFW posts will offer picnics for veterans and their families. And other sites will offer musical and other types of events in honor of those men and women who serve their country. For information on what is going on in you area, check your local paper or contact the Public Information Office at the closest military installation. If you’re going to be around the Fredericksburg area, we will be hosting an Author’s Forum and Book-signing. Mr. John D. Lukacs will be discussing and signing his book, Escape from Davao: The Forgotten Story of the Most Daring Prison Break of the Pacific War” at 1:30 in the West Exhibit Gallery of the George Bush Gallery.

In the words of Admiral Forrest P. Sherman, “Today let us, as Americans, honor the American fighting man.”