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Trump, US military commemorate Armed Forces Day

Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine service members assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord prepare to march in the largest sanctioned Veterans Day parade west of the Mississippi River in Auburn, Wash., on Nov. 9, 2013. This is the 48th annual Veterans Day parade the city of Auburn has conducted. (Photo by Capt. David Fierner, 189th Infantry Brigade)
May 16, 2020

Saturday, May 16 is Armed Forces Day in the U.S., a celebration of all personnel serving in the six branches of the armed forces.

Armed Forces Day was first envisioned in 1949 following the consolidation of the existing U.S. military branches under the U.S. Department of Defense, according to a DoD history of the day. The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950, and has since been celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May.

Armed Forces Day is also part of a larger celebration of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of the month.

Prior to the first Armed Forces Day, each branch had their own day of celebration. When President Harry Truman announced the first such day of combined celebration across all branches, each existing service was asked to suspend their own individual day of celebration. The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force leagues each adopted the newly formed day while suspending their individual service days, while the Marine Corps League instead chose to celebrate both Armed Forces Day as well as its individual branch celebration.

Armed Forces Day has since grown to include recognition for the U.S. Coast Guard and, as of 2020, the newly formed sixth branch of the military, the U.S. Space Force.

On Friday, President Donald Trump unveiled the new Space Force service flag and signed a Presidential proclamation in honor of Armed Forces Day.

“In times of war and peace alike, on land, at sea, in the skies, in cyberspace, and beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, the men and women of our Nation’s Armed Forces serve with honor and distinction and stand ready to selflessly defend our Nation,” the proclamation begins. “On Armed Forces Day, we pay tribute to these patriots, whose work enables our country to shine always as a beacon of freedom and hope for the world.”

The Space Force tweeted video of the flag presentation at the White House, which the Air Force also retweeted.

“Space Force leadership presented the flag of the Space Force to @POTUS today in the Oval Office. The flag will hang alongside those of the other military services @WhiteHouse. @SecAFOfficial

On Saturday, various branches of the military tweeted in recognition of the day.

“For love of country — Then, now, and always…we will fight by your side,” the Army tweeted, with a video celebrating its branches mission. “Today is #ArmedForcesDay and the #ArmyFamily salutes the incredible service of @DeptofDefense, @USNavy, @USMC, @usairforce, @USCG and @SpaceForceDoD.#LandOfTheFree #HomeOfTheBrave

The U.S. Marine Corps also tweeted a video honoring the day.

“One team, One fight. On this #ArmedForcesDay, we pause to recognize our nation’s service members who protect our country, our liberty and our founding principles.”

The U.S. Coast Guard retweeted a post by the DoD Twitter account, featuring a photo of uniformed service members from all six of the branches.

“Today we honor all active duty service members. Thank you for your service and sacrifice,” the DoD tweet reads.