Red Cross observing Armed Forces Day

JACKSON, MISS., WEDNESDAY, MAY 8, 2013— In observance of United States Armed Forces Day May 18, the American Red Cross is encouraging Mississippians to thank a service member—in person and online.

"The U.S. Armed Forces Day celebrates each individual who serves the country by being a part of the military force and demonstrates the preparedness of our brave soldiers to face every sort of threat and challenge," said Leslie Pitre, Red Cross Mississippi Region Service to Armed Forces manager. "It is a tradition to fly the American flag and to wear red, white or blue colors during this time."

This year, Pitre wants to encourage citizens to add to that tradition by thanking our U.S. service members online at the American Red Cross Mississippi Region’s new Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) Facebook page which officially launches on U.S. Armed Services Day.

“We’re ecstatic about our new Service to the Armed Forces page,” said Pitre. “It’s a great way for our military members, families and SAF volunteers to stay connected. I encourage all Mississippians to visit the page on May 18 and thank our men and women in uniform for their dedication and service.”

To visit the page, search “American Red Cross-Mississippi Region: Service to the Armed Forces” on Facebook, or click here

Armed Forces Day is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May. Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May. Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May.

BACKGROUND On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration 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 celebrate 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.

In a speech announcing the formation of the day, President Truman "praised the work of the military services at home and across the seas," and said, "It is vital to the security of the nation and to the establishment of a desirable peace."

In an excerpt from the Presidential Proclamation of Feb. 27, 1950, President Truman stated, "Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America's defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea and air defense."

For more information on American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces, visit redcross.org/mississippi. For more information on U.S. Armed Forces Day, go to http://www.defense.gov/afd/.