Americans are proud of our service men and women. We conduct letter-writing campaigns when they are deployed overseas, greet them with bands and parades when they return home, and honor them with special days throughout the year.

The three main holidays dedicated to our military are Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day. While most Americans are aware that each of these days pays tribute to our military men and women, some aren’t quite sure how the three holidays differ from each other.

One is dedicated to those currently serving, another to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during a period of war, and the last to those who served in the past.

What is Armed Forces Day?                                                                                                        

The third Saturday of May is designated as Armed Forces Day. This year it falls on May 19.  Armed Forces Day is actually the final day of Armed Forces Week.

While not a federal holiday, Armed Forces Day is an important day of recognition. It is designed to celebrate and honor those who are currently serving in all branches of our military.

This holiday dates back to 1949 when the Department of Defense decided to replace each of the separate military branch holidays—Air Force, Army, and Navy Days—with one joint celebration. While the Marine Corps recognizes Armed Forces Day, it is the only branch of the military that declined to drop its own day-long celebration. 

Remembering Those Who Gave All on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a solemn day. This federal holiday recognizes the members of our military who have lost their lives in service to this country. It is observed on the last Monday of May.

The holiday was first known as Decoration Day. It started as a day to recognize Union soldiers who had lost their lives during the Civil War. After World War I, the holiday was extended to include any man or woman who lost their life while serving in the U.S. military. In 1968, Congress passed a bill designating the last Monday in May as the official holiday.

Veteran’s Day: Honoring Those Who Served 

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year, we honor our nation’s veterans. The date was chosen to coincide with Armistice Day, the day in 1918 when an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations was signed.

This federal holiday is dedicated to those who served in the U.S. military in the past. The official holiday began in 1938 as Armistice Day to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, Congress voted to change the holiday to Veterans Day and to extend it to recognize veterans of all of wars.

Thank You from Sunrise

Sunrise Senior Living communities across the country are home to many of our nation’s veterans. We are proud to have the opportunity to serve those who have served our country. We salute and thank everyone who is currently serving in our military, as well as those who have sacrificed in the past!



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