Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.
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.
Many events across the United States take place on Armed Forces Day to honor Americans in uniform who served their country in times of war and peace. Those who are honored on this day include people who serve the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May because of their unique training schedules. Events and activities may include:
- Multi-service military displays in areas open for the public.
- Various educational activities that teach children about the armed forces.
- “Support the Troops” themed motorcycle rides.
- Large parades and other local celebrations.
Certain types of music are also played at Armed Forces Day events, including at memorials and at cemeteries, as a way to respect those in the armed forces who died for their country. For example, buglers have played a bugle call, known simply as Taps, on Armed Forces Day in recent years. Taps is usually sounded by the United States military at events such as flag ceremonies, memorial services and funerals.
Since its founding in 1925, the VFW National Home for Children has grown from an old frame farm house to a sprawling campus with playgrounds, park areas, and multiple buildings, including single-family homes, a community center and gymnasium, child care center, guest lodge, chapel and administrative offices. The National Home’s services have also evolved to meet the changing needs of America’s military and veterans’ families. Through their Helpline and their on-campus programs, they are able to help families and children through times of crisis, both on their beautiful campus and in their communities nationwide.
“Small town America” is one way to describe the National Home’s campus of forty homes and many support buildings. The idyllic and serene setting provides the perfect backdrop for children to grow and families to heal.
To support VFW National Home for Children, please visit: http://www.vfwnationalhome.org/