This is an appropriate recommendation for many events in a person’s life, and can apply to children, a community or a nation. This coming Saturday, we will have another opportunity to celebrate Armed Forces Day.
Then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson first announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days on Aug. 31, 1949. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the armed forces under one department, the Department of Defense.
Each of the military leagues and orders was asked to drop sponsorship of its specific service day in order to celebrate the newly announced Armed Forces Day. According to the Department of Defense website, the Army, Navy and Air Force leagues adopted the newly formed day. The Marine Corps League declined to drop support for Marine Corps Day, but supports Armed Forces Day, too.
Across the span of these 65 years, there have been many changes in this sphere we inhabit called Earth. Many conflicts, wars, disasters and power struggles have occurred, but one thing has remained constant: America and its military have been called upon to remain vigilant to protect and provide defense against all threats, both foreign and domestic.
This calling was not sought for, but it is the benchmark for all other nations and peoples of the world who seek freedom. Freedom is never free, and the strength that we enjoy today was delivered to us by the sacrifice and determination of ancestors who wanted to leave the world in better shape than they found it when they walked these same paths.
Two presidents and one previous former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have been quoted with the following words from our past:
- “Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. The support of an informed American people is increasingly important to the Armed Forces in these days of rapid technological advance, quick reaction time and grave threat to our freedom. I, therefore, encourage members of the DOD to observe Armed Forces Day by informing the American people of our Power For Peace and by confirming their faith that in our strength we will remain free. Guard zealously your right to serve in the Armed Forces, for without them, there will be no other rights to guard.
- “Their contribution to our freedom and safety is measureless. Our national security depends on the maintenance of alert military forces as a deterrent to any possible aggressor.
- “We cannot, in this day of exploding world competition on all fronts, be content to remain the status quo. We must realize that the preservation of our freedom in the years ahead may require greater sacrifices from us than those made by Americans who have walked before us.”
These leaders, like many of their contemporaries today, understood the fact that as a leader you will have those who want to “test the waters” of our resolve and the abilities of our people to support actions that are required to ensure peace. Those quoted were, in order, John F. Kennedy in 1962, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and Nathan F. Twining in 1960.
I also realize there are at least 47 ideas and viewpoints on each and every military action, and they are debatable with civility and differing opinions. But one thing that I hope for is the unanimous approval and support of our military personnel once they are called to action. There is no room for debate about that, in my opinion.
If you are a previous or current member of the military, please know you have my heartfelt appreciation for all you do for so many, each and every day.
If you know of someone who has or is presently serving in our armed forces, please join with me in making time this Saturday to once again express our heartfelt thanks. May we never forget to take the time to give honor where honor is due, and may we never “blink” as time marches on.
These past 65 years have passed ever so quickly and may the residents of Bradley County join with our entire grateful nation in expressing our thanks for what our armed forces do to help keep Bradley County, Tennessee, at its best.