The U.S. Senate first passed a resolution in 1999 designating May as National Military Appreciation Month. That declaration summoned U.S. citizens to observe the month “in a symbol of unity, … to honor the current and former members of the armed forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.”
Traditionally, May has focused on the military in many ways. For example, Public Service Recognition Week, celebrated the first full Monday through Sunday in May since 1985, recognizes the roles of public servants, including the military, at local, state, regional and federal levels.
Armed Forces Day, created in 1949, is an annual event held on the third Saturday in May, with activities at U.S. military bases and in communities around the United States. This is the only day dedicated to honor military members who are currently serving in any branch of the service. This year’s celebration on May 21, will offer two major celebrations in the midstate. Army heritage days at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, and Armed Forces day on Harrisburg’s City Island. Smaller celebrations are scheduled throughout the state, like the one hosted at Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg.
The month culminates with Memorial Day, a federal holiday on the last Monday in May. The day, dating from the Civil War era, traditionally has marked recognition of those who have died in service to the nation.