Saturday is Armed Forces Day, a day we celebrate the men and women who currently wear the uniforms of our active, Guard and Reserve forces.
Prior to 1949, each of the services had its own day of celebration. The creation of the Department of Defense and consolidating each branch under the umbrella of one department made that obsolete, however, so the third Saturday in May was set aside to honor all who wear the uniform.
Many people get confused by Armed Forces Day, and many more tend to ignore it. They feel that between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, those who serve have “enough” days to celebrate them.
As always, it helps to get facts straight for those who may feel this way. Memorial Day honors our dead, Veterans Day honors those living who served but no longer wear the uniform, and Armed Forces Day celebrates the hard work and dedication to defending the nation of those who are still in service.
Sadly, after a few internet searches and a call to Fort Hood, there seems to be only one event in the area designed to honor the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen currently serving. The Harker Heights American Legion Post 573 annual Armed Forces Day Rally is scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m. Friday and will feature food, music and raffles, with all proceeds to benefit local veteran programs. The post is located at 225 Cox Drive in Heights.
While not exactly an event, to be fair, if you’re a member of Crunch Fitness in Killeen, you can bring a friend who isn’t a member to the gym for free from noon to midnight on Saturday.
Granted, there are many things going on in the area this weekend, such as the annual Rabbit Fest in Copperas Cove, and there may actually be other events specifically for Armed Forces Day going on that I haven’t heard about yet. I also understand that many people in this area find a way to honor our troops on a daily basis throughout the year, so maybe a specific day is no different than what they would do anyway.
Regardless, you would think an area with such high regard for our military would have more things going on, especially for the single troops. Many younger soldiers have just as little understanding of Armed Forces Day as the general public, so perhaps setting up events for them in the future could help bring the importance of the day to the forefront of their minds.
They are the nation’s “real 1%” after all, so it’s the least we can do for them.