A day to honor our Armed Forces

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hi neighbors. May 17 is Armed Forces Day and there is certainly reason to honor anyone you know serving in the military and their families. When any family member is serving in a war zone; the entire family is serving the cause here at home as well.

Before Aug. 31, 1949, different branches of the military celebrated their own days to honor members of their force. On that day Armed Forces Day was created to show unification of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

In his Presidential Proclamation Feb. 27, 1950, Truman said, "Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America's defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense." The first Armed Forces Day was considered a way to educate the public about the jobs performed by the military and the role of the military in civilian life. The military used the day to show state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Mostly, it was a time to honor the people of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Through the years notable American leaders' showed their appreciation and support of the Armed Forces. Some of their quotes are stated below: "It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953: "Close understanding between members of our Armed Forces and members of civilian communities is most important to preserve the high level of national readiness necessary for safeguarding the free world."

General Nathan F. Twining, 1959 Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: "We cannot, in this day of exploding world competition on all fronts, be content to maintain the status quo. We must also realize that the preservation of our freedom in the years ahead may require greater sacrifices from us than those made by Americans who have walked before us." General Nathan F. Twining, 1960 Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff "...Word to the Nation: Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard."

President John F. Kennedy, 1962: "The support of an informed American people is increasingly important to the Armed Forces in these days of rapid technological advance, quick reaction time, and grave threat to our freedom."

The Honorable Robert S. McNamara, 1962 Former Secretary of Defense "... Our Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace -- many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth -- that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice."

President John F. Kennedy, 1963 "Armed Forces Day, above all, honors the dedicated individuals who wear the uniforms of their country. Each serviceman, wherever he may be, whatever his task, contributes directly and importantly to the defense of the nation. The task of each one is the task of all the Armed Forces: to protect the freedoms which underlie the greatness of America."

General Earle G. Wheeler, 1967 Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: "At home and abroad, military men and women are showing purpose and dedication in defending American ideas. They are performing in our country's best traditions under circumstances both difficult and complex. Thanks to their determined spirit of patriotism and professionalism, our country has a powerful and unified defense team, employing its forces in the constant quest for peace and freedom."

The Honorable Melvin Laird, 1972 Former Secretary of Defense May 17, 1952, New York Times article: "It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem. Perhaps if we are a little more conscious of our debt of honored affection they may be a little more aware of how much we think of them."

To all of you who serve in the military, or love someone who does -- may God bless you and may God bless America.