Armed Forces Day (US version)

Okay, I’m just going to admit it: I know next to nothing about the day, except that it was set up to honor all the armed forces in a particular country, and several countries around the world observe the day.  For the US, it’s today, May 20th, but the date isn’t static (of course not, it’s the US, we just have to have our three day weekends so we have an excuse to drink ourselves stupid and then be able to call in with a hangover sick the next day, only that excuse doesn’t work for this holiday—it’s always on a Saturday).  In the US, it falls on the third Saturday of May, and was meant to replace each individual branch’s celebration days, but all five are still celebrated by their respective branches, while everyone gets to use this one.

The first Armed Forces Day in the US, according to Wikipedia, was on May 20th, 1950, although the day was created on August 31st 1949, with the intent to honor all five branches by then—Army, Navy, Air Foce, Marines, and Coast Guard—after the branches were consolidated in the US Department of Defense.  The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows (also according to Wikipeda)—you know, the usual stuff we do on national holidays that don’t involve fuzzy bunnies and baby chicks, turkeys, hams, or lots of teeth-rotting candy (oh yeah, or green beer, can’t forget that). 😛

According to the experts at Wikipedia, Chattanooga, Tennessee holds the record for the longest continuously running Armed Forces Day Parade, with 2016 being the 67th year for it, having started in 1950.  I never knew that little fact before today, but then again I’m not from Tennessee, although I have some ancestors that were from there, and Kentucky, too (so yes, when I say their names, the emphasis gets put on the first syllable).  I don’t believe we have any parades around here for Armed Forces Day, although the bigger cities like Indianapolis (Indy to us Hoosiers) and Fort Wayne might.  We reserve the parades for Independence Day, but we do manage to acknowledge Memorial Day and Veterans Day every year.  On the Sunday closest to Veterans Day (assuming the day itself doesn’t fall on a Sunday, otherwise obviously it gets observed on that day) my church brings in the flags (US and United Methodist flag—don’t know why the last one, it has nothing to do with veterans) and we salute the flags, say the Pledge of Allegiance and all that, and have all veterans who are physically able to stand so we can embarrass the heck out of them thank them for their service.  On Memorial Day we observe those church members who died in service to their country, as well as all other fallen veterans.  I don’t remember if we do anything for Armed Forces Day (realizing of course that the celebration is actually part of Armed Forces Week), so I guess I’ll have to wait and see if anything is said tomorrow, since nothing was last Sunday.

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2 Responses to Armed Forces Day (US version)

  1. calensariel says:

    Excellent post! There’s a song our choir always does that incorporates the them songs from all the branches, even the Coast Guard. When their song is sun, those vets or active duty stand up. It always gives me the chills. And around our sanctuary hang flags for all the veterans who have passed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a really neat idea, I’ve never heard of hanging the flags for all the veterans before. I’ve only seen them do the theme songs from all the branches on TV for a military special, but that’s another great idea I wish my church could do. It’s not very big, and the majority of the congregation are senior citizens with a lot of veterans, so you would think they could come up with something like that. We have one who is getting ready to retire after 31 years of service, his retirement party is going to be next month at the Museum of the Soldier here in town. He’s still fairly young, maybe in his late 40s or early 50s I think (his daughter just turned 21 I believe, and got married last August) so he’s still young enough to enjoy his retirement. He runs the local Museum of the Soldier in our hometown and also in Fort Wayne (I think that’s where the other one is), so from April to November he’s kept fairly busy with the place being open every other weekend during those months, their last official event every year being the Marine Corps birthday celebration on the Sunday closest to the Corps’ birthday. He’s actually been deployed to the Middle East a couple times (Iraq I think) in the last few years. We lost our first county resident in Iraq about 10 years ago I think, he was just over 21 or thereabouts and was a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps. His uniform now hangs in the Museum of the Soldier, along with a couple medals and the article that was in the paper after he was killed.

      I’ve had relatives in every branch of the military except maybe the Coast Guard (not sure about that one), and an ancestor who fought in the Civil War for the CSA, although he would have rather fought for the Union and moved west with his family as soon as the war was over. I never had the good sense to serve myself, even though I had the opportunity, and now I’m kicking myself for it, because I think it would have done me a world of good. It drives me nuts hearing people bad mouth our military because they don’t like where they’re being sent or whatever, without taking into consideration the fact that these people don’t have a choice, they go where they’re told to go. They can’t just say “Sorry, I don’t feel like going to Afghanistan today, or Iraq, or Bosnia, I think I’ll just stay home where it’s nice and safe”…if they were going to do that, they’d have never enlisted, they knew what they were getting themselves into when they signed those papers. But they follow orders and go where they’re told, regardless of whether they want to or not, and they put their lives on the line for us every day and should be given respect for that, not crap….sorry, jumping off my soapbox now. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

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