Saturday, May 5, 2012

Armed Forces Day: Freedom Is Never Free

Courage to Stand, is a tribute to U.S. Armed Forces. 
(Produced by Canadian Trooper Matthew Worth)

We chose this video as part of our observance of Armed Forces Day as it expresses not only respect for all branches of the US military, but a point of view we believe is common to all sides of our political spectrum, namely, that our success as a nation is largely due to the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this nation. The quote below is not an endorsement of any political party or politician. It is just the narration of this video – and a really good quote.

"Humans can not reach their potential, cannot realize their dreams unless they are free. If prosperity were easy, everyone around the world would be prosperous. If freedom were easy, everybody around the world would be free. If security were easy, everybody around the world would be secure. They are not! None of this is going to be easy, but this is the United States of America. It takes an extraordinary effort, it takes extraordinary commitment, it takes extraordinary strength. Valley Forge wasn’t easy. Going to the moon wasn’t easy. Settling the West wasn’t easy. We are the American people. We have seen difficulties before and we  always overcome them. This is about rolling up our sleeves [despite our] differences as Americans and putting our head down, and getting it done."   
~ former Wisconsin Governor Tim Pawlenty

Official Armed Forces Day poster, 2012
In the beginning, there was the Army
The U.S. Army been around since ... well, since the very beginning and it was created out of the idea of a voluntary force. 

The US Army, however, didn't celebrate an official anniversary until 1924 on National Defense Test Day, not a popular holiday. 

In 1928, the anniversary was moved to May 1, May Day, otherwise known as World Communism Day. 

That didn't make much sense either.

Then in 1936, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose April 6, the anniversary of our entry into World War I, as a good date to represent the anniversary of the U.S. Army. This time, the date stuck.

Official US Navy flag
Then the Navy...
From 1922-1950, Navy Day was celebrated on October 27 for two main reasons: In 1775, the Continental Congress decided to re-outfit merchant ships as warships, hence the idea of a naval corps was born. The other reason is that October 27 is the birthday of a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt.

Flag of the US Marine Corps
... and the Marine Corps 
Ah, the Marines. They date to the Revolution, too. And like much about our Revolution, they find their way back to Philadelphia. 

Created on November 19, 1775, the Marines received a fare-thee-well after the Revolution. Apparently, the new government thought funding the Marines too costly. But in 1798, they were back and under the jurisdiction of the Navy. Marine Corps Day traditionally was celebrated on the Marine Corps' birthday, November 10.

The flag of the US Coast Guard
The Coast Guard is born
As Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton created the first Coast Guard in 1790 for the express purpose of collecting US tariffs.  

Coast Guard Day traditionally was celebrated on August 4.

The official Air Force flag
With the Air Force, a new age
Air Force Day was a completely different holiday. Plus, the Air Force was newer than any other military branch.

On August 1 in 1907, the Army created an aeronautical division.

On August 1 in 1947, President Truman recognized this branch of the military with an official Air Force Day, a part of the US Army. Now the Air Force is its own division of the military, the US Air Force.

US Army official flag
One Department of Defense
In 1947, the Department of Defense was created to act as a governing body for all the branches of the U.S. military. 

One holiday for all military branches
In 1950, under President Harry Truman, all the military holidays were officially consolidated into Armed Forces Day so that one day could be a day to celebrate all of our military. Within the separate branches, some of the original holidays are still celebrated.
President Truman makes Armed Forces Day official.

Let it fly!

partial  list of sources: 
American Presidency Project (
Department of Defense (
NYTimes archives
Truman Library (