Armed Forces Day in United States

Armed Forces Day USA

What is Armed Forces Day?

The United States of America celebrates its Armed Forces Day every third Saturday of May. The day falls during Military Appreciation Month and marks a significant opportunity to honor the servicemen and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Armed Forces Day is the celebration of all five members of the Armed Forces, which got established in 1949—the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, and the Air Force. The day made sense because the unification of the Department of Defense took place at that time. Fly-bys, parades, marches, award ceremonies, and other public events occur on Armed Forces Day.

Armed Forces Day - All Quick Overview

  • Time / Date: May 20 but varies every year
  • Category: Appreciation
  • Where It’s Marked: The USA.
  • Why It’s Marked: The day marks the outstanding and honorable acts of the service men and women of the United States Defense.

History Of Armed Forces Day

The United States Armed Forces' history is a long one. It started with gaining independence from Great Britain (1775-1783) to the American Civil War (1861-1865), then proving its courage and strength during World War II, and thus, reaching the developed stage as one of the most powerful nations at the end of the 20th century. The US Armed Forces have come a long way and are still making the nation safe for all civilians.

The Continental Congress established the United States Army in 1775, where General George Washington led the Army. The United States' new Constitution made the president of the United States the military chief in 1789. The president has the authority to declare war and give commands.

The primary duty of the Army division was always to fight battles on land and deploy military support. The United States Army was still a small group during the British Army war. Later, the Air Force was declared a separate unit from the Army Air Force in the 1940s. In 1947, all five departments of the United States transformed into a single Department of Defense.

There were separate appreciation days for the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy that Defense Secretary Louis Johnson replaced with Armed Forces Day on August 31, 1949. Thus, the government celebrated the United States’ first Armed Forces Day on May 20, 1950.

Throughout time, the United States Armed Forces participated in many renowned wars. Some examples are the Indian War (the 1790s), the War of 1812, the American Civil War (1861), the Spanish-American War (1898), World War I (1917), World War II (1941), the Korean War (1950), and the Vietnam War (1965).

How to Celebrate Armed Forces Day

Many spectacular events took place during the first Armed Forces Day in 1950. There were parades, march pasts, open houses, receptions, and air shows. At that time, 10,000 soldiers of the military, cadets, and veterans marched past the president and his party and received salutations. Thirty-three thousand participants participated in Armed Forces Day in New York under 250 different military plane fly-overs.

Nowadays, people celebrate the day across different states to pay tribute to the soldiers working 24/7 for the nation. American communities and military bases hold public displays of parades, educational exhibits, and "Support the Troops" motorbike rallies. People also enjoy special discounts on shopping on this day.

Countries that Observe Armed Forces Day

The United States of America observes Armed Forces Day. Many other countries celebrate it on their decided dates.

Interesting Facts about Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day is important to honor the nation's brave heroes. There are many interesting facts about the day that many don't know about. We have written down some below.

  • President Truman inaugurated the first Armed Forces Day in 1950.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor. 30 US Presidents served in the United States Army.
  • The first Armed Forces Day theme was “Teamed for Defense,” as all five branches got unified.
  • In 1961, Armed Forces Day became an official national holiday when President John F. Kennedy issued Proclamation 3399.
  • The largest employer in the US is the United States Department of Defense.

Unique Armed Forces Day Celebration Ideas

If you want to pay respect to the Armed Forces and celebrate the day, here are three unique celebration ideas for you.

  • Take them on a nice, relaxing picnic if you have veteran family members. Make their favorite food and show appreciation.
  • You can organize military dress-up parties and celebrate the day with your friends and family. If you know any Armed Forces members, invite them to join in on the fun.
  • There are many classic war movies, such as "Fury," "The Hurt Locker," "Black Hawk Down," and "Apocalypse Now," to watch. Enjoy them with the family.

Armed Forces Day Quotes

Armed Forces Day is a great time to wish the people who have been away from their families to protect the people and the nation. Here are some thoughtful messages or quotes to wish them on this important event.

“Praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas. It is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace.” - President Truman

“They are the heroes we all must follow because they are the ones who truly inspire us.”

"It takes guts to be in the Army. It takes guts to die for your nation."


1. How many American Presidents were in the military during the war?

24 US Presidents served in the United States Military during wars.

2. Why is Armed Forces Day celebrated?

Armed Forces Day is celebrated because of the unification of the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army into one particular day.

3. How many on-duty personnel are there in the Armed Forces of the United States?

There are about 1.5 million active on-duty personnel in the United States Armed Forces.

Armed Forces Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2022Sat21 MayArmed Forces Day Non Public
2023Sat20 MayArmed Forces Day Non Public
2024Sat18 MayArmed Forces Day Non Public
2025Sat17 MayArmed Forces Day Non Public
2026Sat16 MayArmed Forces Day Non Public

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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