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Armed Forces Day

Show your appreciation and support for the brave men and women of our Armed Forces on Armed Forces Day - thank a service member today!
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United States

Gather around and give a standing ovation to the brave members of our Armed Forces on the third Saturday in May for Armed Forces Day! This day was created back in 1949 to honor all who serve in the United States military, from those who are currently serving to those who have retired. It's a great opportunity to show them how much we appreciate their dedication and hard work, as well as recognize their service and sacrifices they make every single day. So let's take some time out of our day to celebrate this special occasion and thank our heroes for their commitment to protecting our freedom.

History of Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day Dates

Armed Forces Day Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1949</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Establishment of Armed Forces Day</div><div class='timeline-text'>U.S. Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1950</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Official Celebration</div><div class='timeline-text'>The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1961</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Proclamation by Kennedy</div><div class='timeline-text'>President John F. Kennedy confirmed Armed Forces Day as an official holiday by issuing a proclamation.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1976</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Bicentennial Celebration, New Theme</div><div class='timeline-text'>In honor of the U.S. Bicentennial, Armed Forces Day was celebrated under the theme "Our Heritage - Our Strength".</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2000</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Turn of the Millennium Recognition</div><div class='timeline-text'>Commemorating the turn of the millennium, the day was marked with events recognizing the modern military while remembering historical conflicts.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2021</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Virtual Celebrations</div><div class='timeline-text'>Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations pivoted to virtual spaces, with online commemorations and tributes to military personnel.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Armed Forces Day

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Fly the Flag</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Show your appreciation for the armed forces by flying the American flag. It's an easy way to recognize those who have served in the military and are still serving.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Write a Letter</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Send a letter of appreciation to a veteran or active service member. Let them know that you are grateful for their service and dedication to country.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Throw a Party</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Organize a small gathering to honor veterans and active service members. Invite friends, family, and neighbors to join in the celebration.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Donate Blood</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Donate blood at your local blood bank in honor of those serving in the military. It's a great way to give back and show your support.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend an Event</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Many cities host Armed Forces Day parades or other events to commemorate those who serve in the military. Attend one of these events with your family or friends.</p></div></div>

Why Armed Forces Day is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It honors and recognizes members of the armed forces</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Armed Forces Day provides an opportunity to recognize and thank the men and women who serve and protect our country in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve. On this day we are able to express our gratitude for their tireless work and commitment to ensuring our safety.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It celebrates military service & sacrifice</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>For many individuals serving in the military, Armed Forces Day is a time to reflect on the selfless acts of courage and heroism that have been performed by members throughout history. It is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the dedication of those who have given so much for their country's freedom and security.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It raises awareness about veterans issues</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>In addition to honoring soldiers actively serving in the military, Armed Forces Day also serves as a reminder of the numerous challenges facing veterans today. From PTSD to homelessness and more, this day can be used as a platform to raise awareness of these issues and make sure they don't fall through the cracks.</p></div></div>

5 Unexpected Facts for Armed Forces Day

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Armed Forces Day Coincides with other National Celebrations</h3><p class='facts-content'>Along with Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May also coincides with National Learn to Swim Day and National Endangered Species Day in the United States, making it an eventful day for national awareness and celebrations.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Armed Forces Day is different than Veterans Day</h3><p class='facts-content'>While Veterans Day is more about appreciating the services of the veterans, Armed Forces Day is a day to honor all service members currently serving in the active duty military irrespective of their department of service.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Armed Forces Day is internationally recognized</h3><p class='facts-content'>Many countries around the world also celebrate Armed Forces Day, although the date and celebrations differ from country to country, reflecting each nation's unique military history and traditions.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The First Theme for Armed Forces Day was "Teamed for Defense"</h3><p class='facts-content'>Each Armed Forces Day since its inception has had a theme. The first theme in 1950 was "Teamed for Defense," reflecting the unification of all military forces under one governmental department: The Department of Defense.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Official Flower for Armed Forces Day is Red Rose</h3><p class='facts-content'>In the United States, the red rose is recognized as the official flower for Armed Forces Day. It represents the courage, respect, and honor for those who serve in the military forces.</p></div></div>

Armed Forces Day FAQs

When is Armed Forces Day?

Armed Forces Day Dates



May 20



May 18



May 17



May 16



May 15


Appreciation Holidays