With random military and veteran holidays and notable events in history sprinkled in throughout each month, it’s easy to lump the holidays in as serving one purpose without actually stopping to realize who the date it actually meant to honor or memorialize. And with Memorial Day less than two weeks away, it’s easy to mistake the meaning of Armed Forces Day or assume that the holidays honor the same group of people.
Armed Forces Day, celebrated on the third Saturday in May, is actually the final day in the official designation of Armed Forces Week. The holiday was first observed in 1950 to honor actively serving members in any one of the five military branches (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard). The purpose of the holiday was meant to consolidate and replace individual branch holidays, but the separate branch holidays are still observed within the respective services.
Armed Forces Day has been celebrated nationally for more than 66 years with parades, receptions and air shows, but the practice has seemingly escaped Long Island, considering that Long Island is home to one of the highest concentrations of military veterans in the entire United States. It has escaped all except (that we are aware of) South Floral Park, a village that has been holding its annual Armed Forces Day celebration for nearly a quarter century and will do so again on Saturday, May 16, at 11 a.m. at its village hall at 383 Roquette Ave. All who are actively serving, reservists, veterans and civilians are invited to attend the village’s celebration, which will include live music, guest speakers, raffles and refreshments. Stop by and show thanks; support our hometown heroes who are actively defending our freedoms and proudly serving our nation.
—Christy Hinko, USN, RM2 (E-5) 1993-98, U.S.S. Nimitz