President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. - AFD.defense.gov
It would not be a proper May without a Super Saturday at the WWII Memorial. Over the last few years, this has become an unintentional tradition (and one that I'm most happy to continue into the future!), as each May some or all of us end up in D.C. just in time for a Super Saturday.
Notes from May 19:
Armed Forces Day / Despite the dreary skies, spirits and energy were high at the National World War II Memorial today as we welcomed 9 Honor Flights from all over the country, Oregon to New York!! At one point, we even had 3 full flights invade the Memorial at the same time - the happiest and most wonderful organized chaos. I can think of no better way to spend this special day recognizing our troops. It was an honor. Love our vets so much!!
For those new to Operation Meatball or unfamiliar with the way Honor Flight works, Super Saturdays are days when an unusually large number of Honor Flights arrive at the memorials in D.C. Though all Honor Flight days are magical in their own way, Super Saturdays are overwhelmingly awesome.
From 8:30 in the morning to around 4:30 in the afternoon, it's a constant barrage of veterans, guardians, and wheelchairs. Each State brings their own personality, stories, and hilarity. Handshakes, hugs, greetings... before you know it, the day is over, and you are exhausted, but so, so happy.
The Armed Forces Day Super Saturday brought in a whopping 9 flights from around the country, equaling between 800 and 900 veterans! Below are just a few snippets from the day.
Enjoyed a nice chat with the sweet Mr. Bartram from Oregon. He was a Medic with the Marine Corps from 1951-1952, assigned to a Machine gun unit. Always an honor to meet our brave medics!
This adorable swabby spent some time explaining to me how "The Sea Bees won the war!"
You never know who will turn up on a Super Saturday! Such a pleasure to meet General James Mattis, Secretary of Defense. Of course we had to talk about Iwo Jima.
When I met Mr. Hastings, he was wearing the Honor Flight Smile to the max. He told me how he was only on this trip thanks to a random woman who approached him in Walmart and said, "Have you ever heard of Honor Flight?" Shortly after he was signed up and on his flight, and loving every moment of it!
We managed to round up [most] of the Marines from Honor Flight Columbus because you know... it's the Marines. ❤
It's pretty great when you run into folks you know through Honor Flight...or their relatives! I met Mr. Miller's uncle "Moon" Miller in Normandy a few years ago!
Always a delight for the vets to have Senator Dole come out to the Memorial.
The Boys Scouts were a great addition to the day, handing out mini American Flags to the veterans.
And the best dressed award goes to...