“We Salute Our US Armed Forces” — MRFF Board Member John Compere explains the history and importance of Armed Forces Day, the annual day of national recognition for the men and women currently serving in our Armed Forces

Published On: May 18, 2024|Categories: Top News|0 Comments|
Headshot of John Compere on American Flag background

“ARMED FORCES DAY”  is our annual day of national recognition for the men and women currently serving in the active, reserve and national guard components of the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and Space Force. 

Armed Forces Day is the 3rd Saturday in May (May 18th this year) and traditionally concludes Armed Forces week. May is also designated as Military Appreciation Month by the United States Congress.

There were separate observances for each of the military branches originally. The unification of our Armed Forces under the Department of Defense occurred in 1949. 33rd President Harry S. Truman, a decorated World War I veteran, led the effort establishing a special day of appreciation for all military men and women currently serving, their families and the communities supporting them. The first official Armed Forces Day was held on May 20, 1950.

The importance of Armed Forces Day should be evident to all patriotic Americans because our military members deserve to be recognized and respected for their loyal service to this country. It is always important that we acknowledge, appreciate and applaud them. It is also a reminder of our military’s significance and the critical role it plays in our nation’s independence, freedom, democracy, security and survival. 

Today, there are 1,311,904 million active duty military members and 767,238 reserve and guard military members. Approximately 171,736 are deployed worldwide in foreign countries. There are over 700 military bases abroad.

Every Armed Forces member, upon entering the military service, takes the sworn loyalty oath to support, defend and bear true faith and allegiance to our United States Constitution. It is the affirmation we are one nation under our Constitution and it is the Constitution in which we must trust. We were the first nation to be independently established by and for “We the People”  (Constitution Preamble)with no acknowledgment in our secular Constitution of any other authority (emperor, monarch, dictator, deity, religion, scripture, etc). 

“The US military swears to protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We don’t take an oath to a king or a queen, or to a tyrant or dictator. And we do not take an oath to a wannabe dictator. We don’t take an oath to an individual. We take an oath to the Constitution, and we take an oath to the idea that is America, and we’re willing to die to protect it.” – General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and America’s top military officer (retirement speech, September 29, 2023).

Armed Forces Day for recognizing those serving should not be confused with Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) for remembering those who sacrificed their lives in the military service of this country nor Veterans Day (every November 11th ) for respecting those men and women living or dead who honorably served this nation in the military for any length of time and are no longer serving. 

We commemorate three distinct categories of military service with three different national observances. Armed Forces Day is for those still serving in their uniform, Memorial Day is for those who did not make it out of their uniform and Veterans Day is for those who have hung up their uniform. 

Our military services also have their own origination dates or birthdays (Army – June 14, Coast Guard – August 4, Air Force – September 18, Navy – October 13, Marine Corps – November 10, National Guard – December 13,   Space Force – December 20).

As patriotic Americans, we extend genuine gratitude to all of our military members currently serving this country in these troubled times of international conflict and domestic insurrection.   

John Compere 
Brigadier General, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Texas rancher

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