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Interesting facts and trivia about Armed Forces Day

And the Armed Forces

One of the ways you can celebrate AFD 2020 is by flying the American flag. Photo credit: Jonathan Meyer,

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Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 16, 2020, is upon us. But what exactly is Armed Forces Day? It is a day to celebrate and honor the men and women who are currently serving in the United States Armed Services. Here are some interesting tidbits and facts about this annual holiday and our Armed Forces.

  • Aug. 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced there would be a consolidated Armed Forces Day which would replace the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force separate holidays.
  • The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated May 20, 1950. One of the highlights that day was B-36 bombers flying over the capitals of every state.
  • The Department of Defense owns 29,819,492 acres of land worldwide. (
  • Did you know that 31 of our presidents have served in the military? (Department of Veterans Affairs). President George Washington achieved the highest rank of General and Commander in Chief of the Continental Army while President James Buchanan served at the lowest rank of Private. President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • Armed Forces Day is always celebrated the third Saturday of May.
  • Less than 28 percent of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are qualified for military service -- that's only about 1-in-4. (
  • Armed Forces Day is a National Holiday, not a Federal Holiday. On a Federal Holiday, all government offices are closed which they are not on Armed Forces Day.
  • The U.S. Army was in charge of exploring and mapping America. The Lewis and Clark Expedition was an all-Army affair. Army officers were the first Americans to see such landmarks as Pike's Peak and the Grand Canyon. (
  • The Department of Defense is the country's largest employer and also the largest employer in the world. The Pentagon is one of the biggest office buildings in the world and has over 17 miles of hallways. (
  • Bremerton celebrated its 72nd Armed Forces Day Parade in 2019.
  • The Army is the oldest branch of the Armed Forces and the Air Force is the youngest branch.
  • Military members are more highly educated than the general population. Those who enlist are required to have a high school diploma or a GED. That means that 99 percent of the military has a high school education. On the other hand, only 60 percent of the general population has a high school education. (Vehicles for Veterans)

Here are a list of ways to celebrate Armed Forces Day 2020:

  • Wear red, white and blue
  • Fly the American flag
  • Thank a man or woman who serves or has served
  • Talking with or writing to a military member
  • Donate to veteran or military-based organizations

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