When is Armed Forces Day 2018? History, Traditions, Facts & More

Simran Rigzin
Simran is a constant work in progress and never says no to an opportunity. She loves writing and broadening the knowledge of vocabularies and use of language. She believes that there's always something to gain from experiences no matter how small they may be.

What is Armed Forces Day and when it is celebrated?

Armed Forces Day is a day that people all over the world celebrate in honor of all the Men and Women, who serve in the military to maintain peace and harmony between nations. Marked on the third Saturday of May every year, the Armed Forces Day in 2018 will fall on 19th May in the USA.

The main focus of creating an Armed Forces Day in the USA was to unite all the five military forces which are the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. Every country has their own history and thus celebrates this day on different days than that of the United States. The first person to initiate this day in the USA was President Truman on 26th July 1947.


When is Armed Forces Day 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020?

The following dates are of the Armed Forces Day as it has fallen in the past and the dates it will fall in the future:

YearArmed Forces Day
2017Saturday, 20 May 2017
2018Saturday, 19 May 2018
2019Saturday, 18 May 2019
2020Saturday, 16 May 2020

History of Armed Forces Day

Before the establishment of Armed Forces Day, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps were five different parts of the military system. In an effort to unify all the three sections, President Harry Truman grouped all of the five under one head that was the Secretary of Defense.

This led to the formation of the ‘National Military Establishment’ in the year 1947, which was later replaced by the ‘Department of Defense’.

In the year 1949, Armed Forces Day was officially created and announced by Louis Johnson, who was the Secretary of Defense at that time. The Armed Forces Day was officially celebrated for the very first time on 20th May 1950, and its theme read ‘Teamed for Defense’.

The first Armed Forces Day was observed in a grand manner with more than 10,000 military people participating in the grand march, and around 30,000 people participated in the massive parade which was held in New York.


Also, B-36 bombers (an aircraft) flew over all the state capitals. The year 1961 saw Armed Forces Day become a national holiday as declared by John F Kennedy.

Traditions on Armed Forces Day

  1. Schools conduct many events to educate the students about the defense forces
  2. There are huge parades and celebrations
  3. Another famous tradition is the air shows displayed by the Air Force
  4. The Armed Forces Day has different themes every year
  5. People wear the colors Red, Blue, and White (Symbolises American flag)

Facts related to Armed Forces Day

  1. Armed Forces Day is a day to show the people how the military plays a vital role in society and educates the citizens on various equipment that are presented during parades and events
  2. The first theme of the Armed Forces Day was ‘Teamed for Defense’
  3. Though it is a national holiday, the Armed Forces Day is not a federal holiday
  4. In the history of the American Presidents, 31 of them have served in the American Army
  5. The day is celebrated on different dates in different countries
  6. The US military has more than 1.4 million soldiers in service

What can you as an individual do on Armed Forces Day?

  1. Attend the local military shows in your area whose information you may find on the on the Department of Defense page
  2. You can be one of those many people who send cards, letters, and packages to military people outside the country
  3. Visit retired military personnel and listen to their brave stories
  4. Fly the national flag as high as you can and be proud to be a citizen of your country
  5. Attend a parade and see the beauty of the national army in all its glory
  6. Do not forget to attend an air show; they are breathtakingly beautiful and amazing
  7. Last but not the least spread involve children in all your activities and help them learn more about the country and military personnel

When is Armed Forces Day in different countries?

  1. Argentina and India celebrate the three military forces on three different dates
  2. Known as the ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the 25th of April every year
  3. Canada celebrate their Armed Forces Day on the first Sunday every June but is not a public holiday
  4. The United Kingdom celebrates this day on the 27th of June
  5. Other countries also have different dates set out to celebrate this brave day

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