Postcard_BMASince May 20, 1950, the third Saturday in May has been celebrated as Armed Forces Day in the United States, which falls at the end of Armed Forces Week. These have been some of the day’s celebratory themes:

Prepared to Meet the Challenge.
Teamed for Defense.
Dedication and Devotion.
Freedom Through Unity.
Appreciation of a Nation.
Power for Peace.
Special Opportunity for Thanks.

To read this list and think of the 1.8 million people currently on active duty, along with over a million in reserve, it’s hard to imagine a day more worthy of celebration. In President Obama’s 2012 proclamation, he calls upon all Americans “to display the flag of the United States at their homes on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to “learn more about military service” by attending and participating in the local observances of the day.
I also encourage Americans to volunteer at organizations that provide support to our troops.”

A Few Interesting Facts About the Armed Forces

  • 2013ArmedForcesDayThumbThe Department of Defense is the largest employer in the U.S. (more than Exxon, Mobil, Ford, General Motors and GE combined).
  • Less than 28% of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are qualified for military service; that’s only about one in four.
  • More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, including 69 generals and admirals.
  • The Navy’s bell-bottom pants were introduced in 1817 so men could roll them above the knee when washing decks, remove them quickly when abandoning ship or washed overboard, and use them as a life preserver by knotting the legs and swinging them overhead to fill the legs with air.
  • The Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) was adopted in 1883.
  • On an average day, the Coast Guard, among many other things, saves 10 lives, conducts 109 search and rescue missions, and seizes $9.6 million worth of illegal drugs.
  • The U.S. Air Force was part of the Army, called the Army Air Corps, until 1946.
  • The Air Force’s F-117 fighter uses aerodynamics discovered during research into how bumblebees fly.

Official Songs for Each Military Branch

Army:  “The Army Goes Rolling Along” (formerly “The Caisson Song”)
 Navy:  “Anchors Aweigh”
 Air Force:  “The U.S. Air Force” (“Wild Blue Yonder”)
 Marine Corps:  “The Marines’ Hymn”
 Coast Guard:  “Semper Paratus”

Test your military knowledge and learn more with this quick quiz:

And visit for a wonderful collection of patriotic cards, perfect for someone in the service or simply to share your American spirit.