CALDWELL, NJ - On May 15, Lincoln Elementary School in Caldwell celebrated Armed Forces Day with the members of the American Legion, James Caldwell Post 185. Participating Legion members included: John E Bryer, Bill A Hyer, Sam Kent, Paul Caffara, Chet Lindquist, Joe Kinney and Paul Maretzky. Armed Forces Day is celebrated in the US to pay tribute to people who currently serve in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is celebrated annually on the third Saturday of May, which fell on May 16, this year.

In a written statement marking the 65th annual Armed Forces Day, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said, “As our nation marks its 65th annual Armed Forces Day, we are reminded why our men and women in uniform comprise the finest fighting force the world has ever known. They not only continue to defend our country with unmatched skill and devotion; they also help make a better and more peaceful world for our children.”

He continued, “Today we are especially mindful of the nearly 200,000 service members currently beyond our shores protecting America’s interests. They are standing for our shared values in Europe against those who would turn back the clock. They are standing with our friends and allies against savagery in the Middle East. In the Asia-Pacific--where new powers rise, old tensions still simmer, and half of humanity resides—they are responding to disasters and standing up for a continuation of the decades-long miracle of development and progress underwritten by the United States. And in cyberspace, they are standing with those who create and innovate against those who seek to steal, destroy, and exploit.”

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In addition, he said, “To the more than two million soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen who defend the United States of America—we thank you and your families for answering the call to serve. Know that DoD’s senior leaders and I are as committed as ever to safeguarding you, to ensuring you’re treated with dignity and respect, and, above all, to ensuring that when you’re sent into harm’s way, it’s done with the utmost care. Today, and every day, we are grateful for what you do.”

ARMED FORCES DAY

Armed Forces Day was introduced on August 31, 1949, by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson as a way to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish this single holiday for citizens to come together and thank military members for their patriotic service in support of the country. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

There are currently three holidays in the US that celebrate the military—Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and Armed Forces Day. Each serves to specifically celebrate something different. Memorial Day memorializes those who died serving in the military. It is observed on the last Monday of May. On Veteran’s Day, the country says thank you to those who previously served in the military. Veterans Day falls annually on November 11, which is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Those who are currently serving in the military are honored and thanked on Armed Forces Day.

THE AMERICAN LEGION

Organized in 1919, the American Legion is the largest society composed of veterans of the US armed forces. Efforts by the American Legion contributed to the creation of the Department of Veterans, which supports the interests of veterans including medical services and other benefits for them and their families. It also acts to promote patriotism. The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950, with a theme of “Teamed for Defense.”

Today, communities all across the country celebrate Armed Forces Day with parades, receptions, and air shows. There is a different theme for the event every year. Examples of past themes include liberty, freedom, professionalism, and security.

Post #185 is located at 305 Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell and meetings are held on the fourth Monday of each month, at 8:00 p.m.