Armed Forces Day was established following the unification of the armed forces under the DoD, then-President Truman announced its creation, stating:
“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. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”
President Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for all US citizens to thank our military service members for their service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate days previously used to honor our armed forces separately: [Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force].
Armed Forces Day is observed on the third Saturday of May.
Video courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense
The following is form the Veteran Life website.
Originally, this day was intended to become a conglomerate of celebrations for all branches of the military. However, each branch still recognizes and observes its own day of celebration, many of which fall on the anniversary of that branch’s creation or birthday.
You may also ask yourself if the National Guard and Reserves are included in Armed Forces Day. Though they technically are, National Guard and Reserve members have often-complex training schedules that don’t coincide with those of other branches. Because of this, the National Guard and Reserves may choose to celebrate Armed Forces Day at any point during this week or even the entire month of May, which is Military Appreciation Month.