As spring is upon us with the grass greening and the flowers blooming, it’s time to be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy in our country, and to especially think about the cost that has been paid for these freedoms.
As citizens participate in remembrances throughout the year in tribute to our country and our military, let’s take a moment and review what these remembrance and celebration days are, and what the focus is supposed to be on each.
Armed Forces Week – Usually begins the second Saturday in May and continues until the third Sunday. This is a week that Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard services celebrate their organizations.
Armed Forces Day – Near the end of Armed Forces Week, the third Saturday of May. Observance is to honor Americans serving is our U.S. military branches. It consolidates into one day the separate days of observance for Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and the Coast Guard. While these individual service days are still observed within the respected branches, a national day of honor for all our services is Armed Forces Day.
Memorial Day – Originally called Decoration Day, it is celebrated the final Monday in May. The purpose of this day is to remember those who died while serving in our armed forces. While many enjoy this day as the beginning of summer, it is important to focus on the solemn non-celebratory nature of a day, while remembering those that were the treasures we paid as the high cost of our freedom. We don’t laugh and play, or shoot off fireworks; we remove our hat with hand over hearts as we think of those that went before.
Flag Day – Celebrated June 14 each year. It marks the day our flag was adopted on June 14, 1777. This is a day to fly our flag with pride.
Independence Day – Celebrated July 4 each year. This day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and while considered a birthday, celebrations are patriotic and party-like. Parades with flags, floats and merriment are not just appropriate, but expected. It’s a time for families to celebrate our freedoms by remembering our history. Often this holiday ends with fireworks symbolizing the bombs bursting in air with loud and colorful explosive reports. This is the “National Day” of our country.
Constitution Day – Celebrated Sept. 17 each year to commemorate the day in 1787 that our constitution was signed by delegates of the Constitutional Convention. This holiday was originally known as Citizenship Day. Through an act of Congress, public schools provide educational background on the history of our constitution on this day.
Veterans Day – Celebrated Nov. 11 each year to honor persons who have served in The United States Armed Forces. It coincides with Armistice Day, which commemorates the end of World War I.
It is good to stop for a moment and remember those that are serving, those that did serve, and those that died while serving. The days specifically devoted to these three categories are: Memorial Day, for those who died in service to our country; Veterans Day, for all U.S. military veterans; and Armed Forces Day, for those currently serving our country in the military.