What is National Military Appreciation Month?

A bit slow on this one (but better late than never).

Officially designated by Congress in 1999, National Military Appreciation Month takes place every year throughout the entire month of May (in the US). Every year, the president issues an annual proclamation reminding Americans to celebrate this patriotic month that pays tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Although the entire month is designated to honouring past and present military members and their families, there are several, specific military holidays sprinkled throughout Military Appreciation Month itself, including:

  1. Loyalty Day: 01 May 2021:
    • One of the lesser-known Military Appreciation Month holidays is Loyalty Day, which is celebrated on 01 May.
    • Officially designated by Congress as “a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom,” Loyalty Day has been marked by every US president since 1958 with an official proclamation.
    • Fun fact: The first Loyalty Day, then called “Americanisation Day,” was celebrated in 1921, but was renamed “Loyalty Day” by President Eisenhower in 1955.
  2. VE Day: 08 May 2021:
    • Marking the end of a long, deadly war, VE Day, short for “Victory in Europe Day,” celebrated just that: the end of World War II on the European front.
    • Since this momentous occasion in 1945, much of the world has continued to celebrate VE Day on 08 May every year.
    • It has since become an official holiday in Military Appreciation Month.
  3. Military Spouse Appreciation Day: 07 May (Friday before US Mother’s Day):
    • Military Spouse Appreciation Day takes place on the Friday before Mother’s Day and honours the military spouses who sacrifice so much in support of their service member’s mission.
    • President Ronald Regan first proclaimed “Military Spouse Day” a holiday in 1984 before Congress declared it part of Military Appreciation Month in 1999.
  4. Armed Forces Day: 15 May 2021:
    • Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May, and it is the day Americans celebrate their military forces.
  5. Memorial Day: 31 May 2021:
    • Memorial Day, which is celebrated on the last Monday in May, honours service members who have died in military service to the nation.
    • The holiday has roots dating back to the post-Civil War era, when citizens would informally create spring flower memorials on the graves of fallen soldiers.
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