Armed Forces Day is an annual celebration observedĀ on the Third Saturday of May. This year it will be observed on May 20. Armed Forces Day is created to pay tribute to men and women who serve the armed forces of the United States.” The day falls at the near end of the Armed Forces week which commences on the second Saturday of May and concludes on the third Sunday of May.

History of Armed Forces Day

The Armed Forces Day was created on 31 August 1949 to honor the Americans who are serving in the five branches of U.S. military branches, the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Air Force. the day is intended to replace the individual Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed within the respective services. The first The day was first celebrated with parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. The United States longest continuously running the day parade was held in Bremerton, WA. In 2017, Bremerton observed the 69 anniversary of the the day Parade. Since National Guard and Reserve units have unique training schedules, they will celebrate the day in any one of the days of May.

Armed Forces Day

Louis Johnson, the former secretary of United States Defense, declared the creation of Armed Forces Day on August 31, 1949. It was originated from the unification of the armed forces under a single department named “The Department of Defense.” Then the Army, Navy, and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League refused to drop support for Marine Corps Day but supports Armed Force Day too. The theme for the first Armed Forces Day was “Teamed for Defense,” which indicates the unification of all military forces under one government department. The U.S. Department of Defense said that the day was created to expand the public understanding of what type of job was completed and the vital role of the military in civilian life. It is a day for the military to show “state-of-the-art” equipment to Americans. It was also a day to honor and admit Americans to the forces.


  • July 26, 1947: President Harry S. Truman approves the National Security Act into law, combining “four branches of the military under a particular executive authority – the Secretary of Defense.”
  • 1949: Creation of Defense Department, replacing the National Military Establishment.
  • August 31, 1949: Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson declares the creation of an Armed Force Day to replace current, separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force holidays.
  • February 27, 1950: President Truman proclaims May 20, 1950, will be celebrated as Armed Force Day. It also marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defence team.
  • May 20, 1950: FIrst Celebration of Armed Forces Day

Themes of the day

Some of the past themes of Armed Force Day are listed below. Our research team couldn’t verify the years that these themes are associated with

  • Appreciation of a Nation
  • Freedom Through Unity
  • Liberty
  • Dedication and Devotion
  • Patriotism
  • Prepared to Meet the Challenge
  • Security
  • Power for Peace
  • Teamed for Defense
  • Special Opportunity for Thanks

Other Celebrations on May 20

May 20 is also celebrated as

How to celebrate the day

Armed Forces Day will be celebrated in different ways across the United States. In some areas, there will be military parades or Armed forces-themed motorcycle rides. Also, there are many ceremonies, memorial services, and musical processions that will be held all over the country. In some parts of the country, air shows highlighting military jets and historic military planes can also be seen. Post pictures and share your day’s celebrations on social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram by using the hashtag #ArmedForcesDay.

Thank you for reading the post. You can celebrate every day with and Happy Armed Forces Day 2023!