Special Days of Honor
Celebrating Our Military: Special Days of Honor
Honoring the members of our military branches is an important way to recognize the sacrifices they have made to protect and defend our country. While we should be thankful for their service and treat veterans with respect each and every day, there are a few days throughout the year that are dedicated specifically to the recognition of those who have served in the US armed forces.
Important US Military Holidays and Observances
Here, we’ll review a few key military observances throughout the year, sharing details about the history of these important days, and specific ways you can honor veterans during each one.
Armed Forces Day
Armed Forces Day was established in 1949, and was first celebrated in 1950. It replaced the separate Army, Navy, and Air Force Days that had been celebrated previously, uniting the celebration of all military branches on one day. In 1961, it was declared a national holiday by John F. Kennedy.
Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of May each year, and honors those who are currently serving the US in any branch of military service.
Public celebrations of Armed Forces Day often include parades, picnics, and events recognizing those currently serving. Motorcycle rides, runs/walks and military service displays are common when it comes to celebrating Armed Forces Day as well.
On a more personal level, people often wear red, white, and blue, fly American and/or military branch flags, send care packages to soldiers currently serving and donate to military-based organizations in recognition of Armed Forces Day.
Memorial Day is often recognized as the unofficial kick off to summer, but it actually has a much more important and somber significance. Established as a federal holiday in 1971, Memorial Day has roots dating back to the Civil War. You can learn more about the history of Memorial Day here.
Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May and honors those who died while serving their country in a branch of the US military forces.
There are many traditions associated with Memorial Day. While the holiday is typically associated with a three-day weekend filled with barbecues and pool parties, the day is intended to be a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers. Many cities throughout the US host Memorial Day parades, and many national cemeteries honor veterans by placing flags on their graves. American flags are typically flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day as well.
People typically honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country on Memorial Day by flying the American flag outside their homes, participating in local parades and events, and decorating veterans’ headstones with flags, flowers, and wreaths.
Veterans Day began as Armistice Day back in 1919, when it recognized the signing of the armistice that brought an end to the fighting in World War I, which had taken place one year earlier on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Following World War II, Armistice Day was expanded to honor veterans from every war, not just those who participated in World War I. Veterans Day was ultimately recognized as a federal holiday in 1954. You can learn more about the history of Veterans Day here.
Veterans Day is celebrated on the 11th day of November each year. It honors those who have served in any and all branches of the US military.
Americans show their appreciation for veterans on Veterans Day in a variety of ways, including volunteering with local veteran organizations or donating to organizations that serve veterans. Many also decorate the graves of veterans who have passed with flags and flowers, and thank the veterans in their lives who are still living.
Veterans Day is also a great day to fly an American flag, a military flag, or a POW/MIA flag proudly to show support for those who have served our country.
Celebrating Our Soldiers, On Military Holidays & Every Day
We should honor and celebrate those who have served our country on these special days of honor, but show them respect and reverence every other day as well.
Looking for flags and decorations to help you celebrate these important military holidays and show your appreciation for those who have served? We’ve got you covered. Shop our Memorial Day flags, banners and grave markers here, our Veterans Day products here, and our selection of military and memorial flags here.