Friday, May 20, 2011

Armed Forces Day-Saturday May 21, 2011

Saturday May 21, 2011 has been designated Armed Forces Day, with a theme "United
in Strength."

This is the day dedicated to our Armed Forces, and a chance for everyone to pause and remember
and to say Thank You to our military

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed
Forces Day to replace  the then separate Army Day, Navy Day and Air Force Day.

This came about due to the unification of all military branches under one department, The Department
of Defense. The various military leagues and orders were asked to drop sponsorship of its specific
day, and to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. The Army, Navy and Air Force
leagues agreed and adopted the new day. However the Marine Corp League decided not to drop
Marine Corp Day, but added their support to the new Armed Forces Day.

The first Armed Forces Day was marked with parades, open houses, receptions and air shows
across the country. In New York an estimated 33,000 participated under the cover of
250 military planes of all types. In Washington, DC 10,000 troops of all military branches, cadets,
and veterans marched in front of the President. In Berlin 1,000 troops marched for the German
citizens at Templehof Airfield.

The battleships USS Missouri, USS North Carolina, USS Iowa, and USS New Jersey; while
sitting in "mothballed" condition were open for public inspection, meanwhile precision flying
teams dominated the skies as on the ground tracking radar was on display.

There were many many purposes for holding Armed Forces Day, in addition to expressing the
unification of all the services under a single department of the government. It was a kind of
educational program for civilians which would increase awareness of the Armed Forces. It
was planned to show the public what kind of job is performed and how the military relates
to civilian life. It gave the military a chance to show their state-of-the-art equipment to the
population they were protecting.

Some famous quotes regarding Armed Forces Day by our country's leaders:

"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 the civilian
communities is most important to preserve the high level of national readiness necessary
for safeguarding the free world."...General Nathan  F. Twining, 1959

"..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"

"..Our servicemen an 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 the Armed Forces:
to protect the freedoms which underlie the greatness of America."...Gen. Earle Wheeler, 1967

"It is not just our troops who are called to serve and sacrifice, but also their families, who give
our service members the love and support they need to carry on the fight. We will continue to
improve and enhance our support for the families and survivors our troops leave behind. These
heroes are dedicated to defending the country we love, and we must stand firmly beside them
and help care for their spouses and children."
"On Armed Forces Day let us salute the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen
who perform their duties with impeccable courage, commitment, and character, and recognize our
moral obligation to serve them and their families as they have served us."..President Barak Obama, 2011.

This year as we continue the two wars and more of our servicemen and servicewomen spend
more time away from, often serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; it is even more important
that we remember and honor our military.

Please if there is a parade near you go, stand there and show your support. Attend an open house or
reception. Above all Please say Thank You to every member of the military that you come in
contact with.

And let us all make it a habit not just on Armed Forces Day, but every day of the year, to thank our
military and our veterans. Five simple words "Thank you for your service", or even "Thank You."
It will mean so much to them just to be remembered.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"

 ---------------- "And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades." -- Robert M. Gates, 1996