Saturday, May 21, 2016

Did You Remember That Today Is Armed Forces Day?

Too often, Armed Forces Day is one that is overlooked on the calendar. For whatever reason, that is what happens just about every year. This, in part, is why I try to pay particular attention to these words and why I wanted to share my thoughts on this day. First, let us take a look at how Armed Forces Day came to be established as recorded on the Department of Defense website:

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 the Department of Defense. 

The only thing that I would add to this is that while we cannot express our thanks to them personally, this should also be a day when we reflect upon the service and sacrifice of all those in our family tree. Their service has, in many ways, allowed us to reach this day and made it possible for such a recognition to come to fruition. When looking back in my own family, there are specific generational touch points in every US conflict from the foundation of this country to the present day and touching upon all branches of service.

While anyone familiar with the military knows that there is a certain banter between branches, this is one of the days that unifies all who have served or are serving. While Veteran’s Day primarily focuses on those who have served or are serving at this moment and Memorial Day honors those lost in service to their country, this is a day that tends to give an overarching recognition by honoring the service of all. It is also a day that transcends time not ascribing respect to one generation or another.

This is the primary reason why this day is one that gives me pause as I reflect both on the decision that I have made in my own past as well as those on the decision made by my family members past and present. And while I commonly write in a similar way on Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day, one can never think about the service of others enough. Collectively, those men and women served our country and for that I will forever be grateful.