Armed Forces Day

6 05, 2019

Busy, Busy Month of May

By |2019-05-02T21:40:39-05:00May 6th, 2019|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|2 Comments

May signals the beginning of summer. Senior proms and pomp and circumstance graduation celebrations fill the days. End of school parties occupy weekends even before that last bell rings.

The month is also full of military observances. Four to be exact.

  1. May 8 is V-E Day (Victory in Europe)

On this day in 1945 the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

A copy of The New York Times published May 8, 1945, bearing Kennedy’s scoop (AP/Rick Bowmer)

A side note about the day:

The news came to the U.S. via Edward Kennedy— not the late Democratic senator from Massachusetts but a man by the same name who was the chief correspondent in Europe for the AP in 1945 and had watched the signing in person.

Unfortunately, Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower had imposed a news blackout on the surrender, under orders from President Truman. Kennedy defied the order and sent the news out anyway.

His defiance backfired instead of the greatest scoop of his career, it was the scoop from. Allied headquarters stripped away his press credentials, denounced him personally for breaking the rules, and expelled him from liberated France to New York, where the AP promptly fired him. In 2012, he finally won a posthumous apology.

Newsbreak or unethical double cross? That is the question even among news reporters today. In our day of Twitter and Instagram, it’s hard to believe Kennedy was the only reporter in 1945 willing to break the news blackout.

  1. Armed Forces Day on May 19.

The day set aside to show appreciation to all active duty service members. Not to be confused with Veterans Day (November 11) or Memorial Day (May 27 this year). Both of those days commemorate the men and women who died while in the military service.

  1. May 22 is National Maritime Day.

The day set aside to observe the U.S.’s proud maritime heritage and honor the men and women who serve and have served as merchant mariners.

  1. May 27 is Memorial Day.

Originally called Decoration Day, many wear red poppies on Memorial Day which symbolize the red poppies that grew on a battlefield in Belgium during World War I and immortalized by Canadian Lt. Colonel John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.

Moina Michaels, an American professor, wrote her own poem in 1918.She was also the first to wear a poppy, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money benefiting servicemen in need. Four years later, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell poppies nationally.

A little side note about this day:

A Memorial Day picnic and poppies play a prominent role in the love story of Green Beret Alex Cabot and Department of Army Civilian Lily Reed, The Pendant’s Promise.

Then there are high school graduations, college graduations, birthday parties, and Mothers’ Day.

Last important day in May, though not nationally celebrated or recognized, is our wedding anniversary on May 30. Fifty-six years and counting—a rarity these days.

28 05, 2018

What is Memorial Day?

By |2018-05-15T15:47:37-05:00May 28th, 2018|Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

A holiday not to be confused with Veterans Day or Armed Forces Day. That day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, living or dead.

Memorial Day is different. It is the day set aside to remember the men and women who gave their lives while serving this country.

Personally, I can’t forget Memorial Day. You see, my sweetie and I shared our wedding vows on May 30 — the original date designated as Memorial Day.

That date changed with the passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Now Memorial Day is the last Monday in May. We still celebrate our anniversary every May 30.

Sometimes I think the Memorial Day holiday is devoted more to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events instead of remembering those who have given their lives in military service.

May this video jog our memory.

18 05, 2013

Saluting Our Armed Forces on Armed Forces Day

By |2013-05-18T05:23:02-05:00May 18th, 2013|Holidays|0 Comments

armed-forces-day

On this Armed Forces Day, I want to salute them and all our Armed Forces. Whether Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard, or Coast Guard, our active and reserve service personnel are an important part of the United States.

Did you know that in 1775 – the year before the Declaration of Independence was signed – our national Army, Navy, and Marines were officially formalized?

While this was the beginning of the military branches, wariness of a standing army caused the Founders initially to only employ military men during times of need, and rely on local militias when possible.

Soon it became obvious that a standing national military was necessary to protect the fledgling country and our modern military branches were established. As the armed forces matured and technology advanced, the Air Force became a separate branch in 1947, and with it, the National Guard.

Historically, each armed service branch celebrated its own holiday, but in 1949, all branches came under the administration of the Department of Defense.

The first joint Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950.

A New York Times article from May 17, 1952 stated: “It is our most earnest hope that those who are in positions of peril, that those who have made exceptional sacrifices, yes, and those who are afflicted with plain drudgery and boredom, may somehow know that we hold them in exceptional esteem.”

Every day we should remember that the military is not a faceless entity, but rather the son or daughter, neighbor or friend who chose to be ready to fight so others don’t have to. These men and women in uniform take their responsibility of citizenship one large step further.

©iStockphoto.com/videodet

©iStockphoto.com/videodet

I’m the daughter of an World War II Army Air Corp officer, the wife of a retired US Army Reservist, and mother-in-law to a Coast Guard veteran, I know the sacrifices involved.

Today I offer a big thank you to all our Armed Forces, regardless of branch, rank, or duties, for their service and sacrifice.

Won’t you join me?

8 05, 2012

The Merry, Merry Month of May

By |2012-05-08T10:32:53-05:00May 8th, 2012|Uncategorized|5 Comments

While many of us consider this month to signal the beginning of summer, we also need to think about all the military centered observances in May.

Today is one of four dates set aside for honoring military in the U.S.

On Tuesday 8 May 1945 the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Today we celebrate that victory. 

There’s a fascinating story of the firing of Edward Kennedy the AP correspondent who broke the story– perhaps the greatest scoop in history– and was then furiously denounced and expelled from liberated France. He won a posthumous apology from an ungrateful employer after 50 years last Friday. Click here  to read.

Then on May 19th we celebrate Armed Forces Day.

May 22th is National Maritime Day. A day set aside to observe the U.S.’s proud maritime heritage and honor the men and women who serve and have served as merchant mariners.

Lastly, May 28th is Memorial Day. Originally called Decoration Day, it’s a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Many wear red poppies on Memorial Day which symbolize the red poppies that grew on a battlefield in Belgium during World War I and immortalized by Canadian Lt. Colonel John McCrae’s poem, In Flanders Fields.

Moina Michaels, an American professor, was inspired to write her own poem in 1918, which included the lines:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Michaels was the first to wear a poppy, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money benefiting servicemen in need. Four years later, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. 

You’ll find a reference to the poem in my soon-to-be released book The Pendant’s Promise. And, a Memorial Day picnic plays a prominent role in the love story of Alex and Lily.

May is indeed a month with opportunities to honor our miitary. On each of these days, my family will be pausing to remember and recognize those of have and are serving. And, no doubt, we’ll all be hearing TAPS played at one or more of these celebrations. It’s the song generally played on a bugle or trumpet that sounds at dusk, during flag ceremonies, at funerals, particularly by the U.S. military, and often at Boy Scout and Girl Scout/Guide meetings and camps. 

I recently learned that  2012 is the 150th anniversary of TAPS. Read the complete story of TAPS from blogger Diane Kalas

Besides the end-of-school/graduation parties and beginning of summer celebrations,  will you be celebrating any of these military holidays in the merry, merry month of May?

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