Did you know that there is a special day of the year that we can honor and pay tribute to anyone who has served or is serving in the armed forces? Well, there is. So what is Armed Forces Day and when is it?
This post will discuss this day that is not only observed in the United States, but also Australia, the United Kingdom and many countries all over the world.
Have you got any military ancestors?
You maybe reading this post because you have someone who is serving in the armed forces. Or you maybe reading this because you have ancestors who served for their country. What better way to honor and pay tribute to them than to discover their story.
You may have heard stories about your military ancestors passed down by members of your family. Why not write down these stories and preserve them for the future? If you have family that are currently serving for their country then why not tell their story now?
The main reason that I got interested in genealogy was because of the many stories that my father shared with me and my brothers. These were passed down through the generations and I thought to myself that I would record these before they got lost in time.
Why not visit Ancestry to discover your military ancestors!
If you are interested in your military ancestors then why not check out the Ancestry website. Not only does this genealogy search website include the usual links to certificates, there are probates, business directories, and even military records.
For me I was so amazed as to what I found on the Ancestry site, not only the records but also the members family trees that I used to make connections with. Although I must say that you need to verify the information that is used for these trees.
Some will contain errors so you will need to be sure of these records before adding them to your own tree.
Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday of May
(Armed Forces Week starts on the Second Saturday of May)
Armed Forces Day (UK) – Last Saturday of June
ANZAC Day (Australia) – April 25th
The Story Behind Armed Forces Day
This day was first created back in 1949. Armed Forces Day was announced by the then United States Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson on August 31st of that year. But why did he create such a Day?
Before I do discuss the reason why this day was created let me just tell you what forces are unified under the Department of Defense. There are in all seven forces that make up the Armed Forces.
The Armed Forces include:
- Air Force,
- Coast Guard,
- National Guard, and
- National Reserves.
Each of these armed forces celebrate Armed Forces Day. However, both the National Guard and National Reserves may observe this day on a different date due to their training schedule.
So why was Armed Forces Day created?
Well, I have already explained that these forces were unified under the one department. So to solidify unity what better way than to have a date for everyone to honor anyone in the armed forces?
Also, there were separate days for each of the forces that had existed before. Each of these forces do have their own birthday. These separate forces still celebrate their own days, together with Armed Forces Day.
Birthdays for the forces:
- Air Force – September 18th
- Army – June 14th
- Marines – November 10th
- Navy – October 13th
- Coast Guard – August 4th
- National Guard – December 13th
I have not a birthday for the National Reserves. If you are aware of one then please to comment below and I will add it.
When was the first Armed Forces Day?
It would not be for another 9 months after the announcement on August 31st 1949 that Armed Forces Day was celebrated. This first date was on Saturday May 20th 1950. And for that reason it has been celebrated on the third Saturday of each month every year.
The theme for that very first Armed Forces Day was “Teamed for Defense“. This theme wanted to express the unification of the forces. Not only that but the Department of Defense wanted to highlight to the public what roles each of the forces did and also the role of the military in civilian life.
There have been other themes for past Armed Forces Days. These have included Liberty, Patriotism, Power for Peace, and Security, amongst others.
The latest and “state of the art” equipment are also displayed to the public on this day. So not only can you find out about the roles of each of the forces but you can check out what the forces use during their service.
What about the rest of the world?
Australia have their own day known as ANZAC Day. This day was originally created to honor the thousands of men who died during the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War. Since then this day is for people to remember and honor anyone who has served in any war or conflict.
The United Kingdom did originally have a day known as Veterans Day, which was first observed in 2006. This was replaced by Armed Forces Day which took place on June 27th 2009.
This date was chosen as it marks the anniversary of awarding the Victorian Cross that was held on June 26th 1857. Today it takes place on the last Saturday of June.
What Can You Do On Armed Forces Day?
I have already explained that this is a day to honor and pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States armed forces. But how can you do this?
Well, there are open days where there are displays that are open to the general public. There are also educational activities for children to teach them about each of the forces.
Other events include parades, receptions, air shows and “Support the Troops” motorcycle rides.
To pay respect for anyone who has died during active duty or who has since passed away you may wish to visit the site of a memorial or a cemetery. There are also memorial services where bugles play Taps, that can also be heard at flag ceremonies and funerals.
My Final Thoughts
There are many ways that you can you pay tribute and honor active service men and women, and also who have since died. I hope that I have inspired you to discover your military ancestors and tell their story.
For me I like to tell as much as I can about my ancestors. I like to try to find out their whole life story. This can start from when and where they were born, growing up and their older years.
If you do have ancestors that were in the military then why not check out the Ancestry website. This site has millions of records for you to search.
Before you do check out the Ancestry site you may wish to interview older relatives or friends who may know more about your family tree. You will be surprised as to how much that they will share with you. And it can save you both time and money.
Why not head on over to Wikipedia to find out more about when other countries commemorate this day all over the world.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed this post giving you a guide as to what Armed Forces Day is all about. If you think that this post will be helpful to others then please share it with friends and family using the social media buttons below.
If you have any questions or comments then please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.