Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto reminds residents to remember our men and women in the Armed Forces on Armed Forces Day, May 19.
“On August 31, 1949, then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days,” Supervisor Venditto stated. “The single-day celebration, to be held on the third Saturday in May, stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department — the Department of Defense. Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to ce
lebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. The Army, Navy and Air Force Leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day, but supports Armed Forces Day, as well.
“The first Armed Forces Day on May 20, 1950, was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions, and air shows,” the Supervisor continued. “All across America, people joined together to honor the Armed Forces. In Washington D.C., 10,000 troops of all branches of the military marched past the President and his party. In Berlin, 1,000 U.S. troops paraded for the German citizens at Templehof Airfield. In New York City, an estimated 33,000 participants initiated Armed Forces Day with an air cover of 250 ‘military planes of all types.’ The famed mothballed ‘battlewagons’ of World War II, including the Missouri, the New Jersey, the North Carolina, and the Iowa, were all open for public inspection. Precision flying teams took to the skies as tracking radar was exhibited on the ground.
“I think the words of the longest serving Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Earle G. Wheeler succinctly sum up the meaning of Armed Forces day,” the Supervisor said. “At an Armed Forces Day celebration in 1967, he said: ‘Armed Forces Day, above all, honors the dedicated individuals who wear the uniforms of their country. Each serviceman, wherever he may be, whatever his task, contributes directly and importantly to the defense of the nation. The task of each one is the task of all the Armed Forces: to protect the freedoms which underlie the greatness of America.’
“So,” concluded Supervisor Venditto, “on Armed Forces Day, take a few moments to remember our men and women in the Armed Forces and reflect on their service, sacrifices and the debt we all owe them for the freedoms we enjoy.”