Every time I look at a calendar, there seems to be a new day of celebration, observance, memorial, or holiday. Timeanddate.com includes 246 holidays and observances in the United States alone, but the third Saturday in May represents one of particular, personal significance to me—someone who joined the United States Army nearly ten years ago and continues to serve as a commissioned Officer in the Army National Guard.
In August 1949, Defense Secretary Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day in the United States to celebrate the unification of all U.S. military branches under the Department of Defense. This day is celebrated with parades, demonstrations, picnics, and parties to show support for the men and women who have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and who are currently serving around the globe to defend freedom.
But this celebration of armed forces is not limited to the United States, and in fact, many countries around the world have established similar celebrations to honor their military forces both in May and throughout the year. For some of those countries, military service is a mandatory requirement and an essential part of citizenship, while in others, military service may be completely voluntary as it is here in the USA. But regardless of anyone’s reason for serving, a strong support system is essential throughout the term of service and thereafter.
"please take a moment to fly a flag or create a post on social media celebrating the armed forces."
So how can civilians show support on this particular day of celebration? Whether you also choose to attend or volunteer at a local event or parade, or if you’d rather just enjoy a quiet day at home, please take a moment to fly a flag or create a post on social media celebrating the armed forces. For those friends or family you know personally that are serving, reach out to them with a kind word, and to those veterans you happen to see out in public, thank them for their service. Such simple acts of compassion and support could be a key to helping someone through a tough time or simply provide the gratitude and reassurance we all appreciate. Moreover, if you’re looking for a more formal approach to show support, there are many organizations that actively support service members and their families while at home and during deployment, such as the United Service Organization (USO)—any donation of time or resources to them in May during planned events, and throughout the year during regular operations, can make a big impact on the lives and welfare of countless service members.
As one of those service members, I can say that my life has changed for good in the years since my enlistment, as the Army taught me different skills and gave me experiences that I never would have been privy to outside of the military. I can also say that, during my service then and as I continue to serve now, the encouragement and support of friends, family, and even strangers has meant so much and has helped me through the good times and the bad. I will continue to serve this great country and I thank you personally for your support—to my fellow service members, who I know are grateful alongside me, thank you for your service.
About the AuthorMore Content by Eric Espinoza