Armed Forces Day is a special occasion on which people from around the globe gather to express their gratitude to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. The holiday was conceived by President Harry S. Truman and instituted in 1949. Due to the recent consolidation of the five branches of the United States military under the Department of Defence, it made sense to create a singular day to honour them all. Today, Armed Forces Day is observed on the third Saturday of May, which falls on May 20 this year. Mark your calendars and show your support for our military!
The background of Armed Forces Day
Two centuries span the annals of the United States Armed Forces. The United States rapidly evolved from a new nation fighting for independence against Great Britain between 1775 and 1783, to fighting in the landmark American Civil War between 1861 and 1865, to demonstrating their valour and strength during World War II, to emerging as a global superpower by the end of the 20th century. The United States armed forces consist of five branches: the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
General George Washington commanded and lead the Continental Army, Continental Navy, and Continental Marines, which were established by the Continental Congress in 1775. During the American Revolutionary War, this freshly assembled military force fought the British alongside French soldiers, resulting in the Treaty of Paris and its independence. In 1789, the new Constitution granted the president the authority to create laws, levy taxes, and declare war, as well as to serve as commander-in-chief of the military.
Since its inception, the Army division of the Armed Forces has been primarily responsible for fighting land engagements and deploying the military for invasion. The United States Army Corps of Engineers controls the majority of America’s inland rivers. Following the conflict with the British Army, the United States Army remained relatively small and operated in peacetime. In the 1940s, the Air Force became an entirely separate organisation from the Army Air Forces. The U.S. Army was transferred from the War Department to the Defence Department in 1947.
The U.S. Army fought in the Indian Wars of the 1790s, the War of 1812, the American Civil War in 1861, the Spanish-American War in 1898, World Wars I and II in 1917 and 1941, the Korean War in 1950, and the Vietnam War in 1965. The United States military also participated in the 1991 Gulf War and the Afghanistan War.
The United States Armed Forces are commanded by the Department of Defence and the Coast Guard, which is authorised by the Department of Homeland Security as of 2019.
The President of the United States is the chief commander, and they exercise their authority through the Secretary of Defence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who oversees combat operations.
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5 FUN FACTS ABOUT MILITARY UNIFORMS YOU NEVER KNEW
As a tribute to George Washington and the men in his first command, today’s army troops don blue instead of green.
The Marine Corps went so far as to include the letters “USMC” on their uniforms in order to prevent other branches from using their design.
It turns out that the three pinstripes on the Navy tunic have no significance other than the fact that the majority of men adorned their collars with various types of white stripes, so it became part of the uniform.
Famously, sailors wear trousers with a wide leg opening so that they can easily fold them up when conducting duties that require them to get their feet wet.
The American flag insignia on military uniforms has the stars on the right and the stripes on the left so that it appears to be flapping in the wind.
ARMED FORCES DAY DATES