Have we forgotten some of the lessons of World War II, have we lost some of our traditions? Ask any school age child what holiday we celebrate today and you are more likely to get an answer like the opening of spring soccer or little league baseball than Armed Forces Day. Have we forgotten?
The war was over, it was 1949 and President Harry S. Truman was in the White House when he spearheaded the idea of a single holiday when all Americans would gather together and honor those serving our nation with military service. That announcement was August 31, 1950. Memories of World War II were vivid; the sacrifice of lives and dreams was etched deeply in the hearts of Americans. How could this ever be forgotten?
The Department of Defense described the day as an “educational program for civilians with the goal of increasing awareness about the armed forces.” According to the department of defense, “It was a day for the military to show ‘state-of-the-art’ equipment to the civilian population they were protecting. And it was a day to honor and acknowledge the people of the Armed Forces of the United States.”.
Until the day was announced each branch of the service held their own day but this was more than unification for celebration because it coincided with the unification of all military branches under the Department of Defense. In Truman’s Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, he said: “Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality.
Today we are fighting a war on terrorism on multiple fronts, we have troops still posted in Korea, and Germany from wars of the past and the lessons of World War II are fading. School children today have little understanding of this day and most do not even know the holiday exists. How could we forget?
When a native son or daughter is lost in battle we lower the flags of our state for a few days. We say kind words about sacrifice, and bravery then we slowly walk away. Little regard is given to the daily duty performed by our military personnel both home and abroad. Today is their day, how could we forget?
Today is a day for a little home schooling because our children may have missed the lesson at school. Today we should not forget and our children should be taught to never forget the burden we place on those that volunteer to serve our nation with military service.
Our generation can not forget the lessons of the past; it is our responsibility to pass those lessons on to the next generation. Today is Armed Forces Day, how could we forget?
The Opining Quill salutes the men and women of our military on this special day with this message:
All of America owes you a debt of gratitude. May God be with you on your mission and may you return home safely to your families and your dreams. You are not forgotten.