Armed Forces Day, Third Saturday in May
In 2023, Armed Forces Day is designated as Saturday, May 20. In the United States, Armed Forces Day is intended to be an honorary celebration for those currently serving in the United States Military.
Armed Forces Day is Fast Approaching
Usually Mother's Day weekend marks the beginning of a series of observations, beginning with Military Spouse Appreciation Day on the previous Friday, that culminate in Armed Forces Day.
The Brief History of Armed Forces Day
The holiday was established in 1949 (first observed in 1950) as a way to pay tribute to all active United States servicemen and women and to the notion that all branches of the military work together to achieve a common goal. Its establishment followed the founding of the United States Department of Defense. Though it was intended to replace the separate celebrations by the individual branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Days are still individually celebrated.
In His Presidential Proclamation on February 27, 1950,
Harry Truman Classified Armed Forces Day as Follows:
Whereas the Armed Forces of the United States serve the Nation with courage and devotion both in war and in peace; and
Whereas the Armed Forces, as a unified team, are currently performing, at home and across the seas, tasks vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a durable peace; and
Whereas it is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying tribute to the Armed Forces as the servants and protectors of our Nation:
Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim that Saturday, May 20, 1950, shall be known as Armed Forces Day; and I invite the Governors of the States, Territories, and possessions to issue proclamations calling for the celebration of that day in such manner as to honor the Armed Forces of the United States and the millions of veterans who have returned to civilian pursuits.
That Saturday, May 20, 1950, shall be known as Armed Forces Day; and I invite the Governors of the States, Territories, and possessions to issue proclamations calling for the celebration of that day in such manner as to honor the Armed Forces of the United States and the millions of veterans who have returned to civilian pursuits.
As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I direct the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to mark the designated day with appropriate ceremonies, and to cooperate with civil authorities and civic bodies in suitable observances.
I call upon my fellow citizens to display the flag of the United States at their homes on Armed Forces Day and to participate in exercises expressive of our recognition of the skill, gallantry, and uncompromising devotion to duty characteristic of the Armed Forces in the carrying out of their missions.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington this 27th day of February in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-fourth.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
If you wish to fly flags honoring all branches of the military, the order of precedence is as shown; United States, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Space Force, National Guard.
Military Flag Display: Order of Precedence
The Department of Defense Directive 1005.8 asserts the order of precedence of military personnel, which we can safely assume mirrors that of military flags on an Outdoor Flagpole. That list is in this order: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The Coast Guard Flag moves up right behind Navy when the Coast Guard operates as a service of the Department of the Navy during a time of war. As of this writing, the D.O.D. Directive has not been updated to include the Space Force flag (current as of 2003).
The recent addition of the Space Force flag has, therefore, generated some confusion. Most visible examples show the Space Force flag placed between the Air Force and Coast Guard flags. However, though it meets with historic precedent and follows the same guiding reasoning, this precedence has not been documented in writing that we have found.
In a mandatory directive from the Secretary of The Air Force (downloadable here) in August of 2020, the Space Force flag is ordered to be flown in the sixth position, after the Coast Guard flag (as pictured throughout our website).
When the flags are being flown on multiple Outdoor Flagpoles, the American Flag should always be flown first in line. If you are flying one or more military flags on the same pole as your American Flag, it/they should be of equal size or smaller and flown below the American Flag.
Send us your pictures of Armed Forces Day celebrations, American flags, flagpoles, ropes, or other accessories! We would be honored to feature your photography in our blog or on Facebook. Remember, photos of damaged flags and accessories are valuable, too.
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Have a great day, from your friends at LIBERTY FLAGS, The American Wave®.