Saturday, May 21, 2011

Armed Forces Day

Today is dedicated to those who served, and those who died serving, in the Armed Forces.

Sixty-two years ago, in the wake of World War II, then-Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson established the third Saturday in May to honor the armed forces of the Army, Navy, Air Force Marines. It was the same year those branches came together under the auspices of the Department of Defense.

Back then, its purpose was to honor those who served in the two world wars the country had found in the first half of the 20th century.

Today those veterans have essentially disappeared. The last World War I veteran recently died in Australia, and there are increasingly few World War II veterans left today.

But they have been replaced with a new generation of veterans from the conflicts in the Middle East over the past two decades who join veterans of the Korean and the Viet Nam wars.

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