2016-2017 National Americanism Ambassador
Summer’s Swell of Patriotism
As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, you will likely see a swell of patriotism in your area.
Ceremonies and parades occur around our nation’s patriotic holidays. Passing out flags to children, riding on a Post or Auxiliary float, and marching with the colors are some typical ways to participate. Take the opportunity to remind everyone about the proper Flag etiquette at parades. Download “Flag Etiquette at Parades” from the Program & Publicity Resources page of the website under “Americanism” and hand it out at parades your Auxiliary participates in this spring.
As we celebrate patriotic holidays this spring and summer, please take the time to educate yourself – and others! – about each day.
- Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday in May (May 20, 2017)
Armed Forces Day is a day to pay tribute to those who defend America’s freedoms every day. Led by the effort of President Harry S. Truman to establish a single day for Americans to thank the nation’s military members for their service to our country, Armed Forces Day was created on August 31, 1949, following the unification of the armed forces under the U.S. Department of Defense. First observed on May 20, 1950, the day was designed to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, particularly within their respective services.
- Memorial Day – May 30 (Traditional) Observed Last Monday in May
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the Civil War. While this holiday commonly marks the unofficial beginning of summer, it is also a time for a more serious and respectful occasion. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
- Flag Day – June 14
Flag Day celebrates the adoption of the flag the official symbol for the United States: our Stars and Stripes. This day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777, which became known as Flag Day. Congress first stated that there should be a star and stripe for every state. Our first flag had 13 stars, and 7 red and 6 white stripes. In 1794, two new states were added and we had a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. By 1818 there were 20 states, but our county was still using the flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Congress thought about having 20 stripes and agreed that it might become a problem because of its size so they passed a law that said there would be 13 stripes for the original 13 states, and they would add a star for each new state that joined the union. The U.S. flag has 13 stripes: seven red and six white. A blue field with 50 stars is located next to the staff in the upper left corner of the flag. The stars do not represent any given state. The colors used in the flag give special meaning to the flag: Red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue — the color of heaven — for reverence and loyalty.
- Independence Day – July 4
American Independence Day is celebrated on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. Our country will celebrate its’ 241st birthday this year. All in all, she is looking pretty good for her age!
I want to thank all of you for all the wonderful work you have done on behalf of our veterans this year! I’m proud to have worked alongside you. You should all be very proud of all you’ve done this year.
I look forward to seeing many of you at National Convention in New Orleans in July!