Military Appreciation Month

Military Appreciation Month - May 2024

Federal Military

Introduced in 1999 by Sen. John McCain and honored every May, Military Appreciation Month encourages Americans to reflect on the sacrifices made by soldiers, sailors, and all current and former military personnel.

May is an appropriate month for a military remembrance, since the month also includes VE Day, which commemorates the end of World War II in Europe, and culminates in Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May to honor veterans who died in service.

During the month of May, Military Appreciation Month pays tribute to the members of the military.

Nationally Military Appreciate Month falls in May each year. As its title suggests, this observance is meant to raise awareness and encourage celebration and appreciation of those who serve – are who have served – in the armed forces for their country.

Every role in each military branch is honored this month, from the foot soldier to the navy chef, from the Air Force navigator to the Army general. This month is also meant to show appreciation for the families of servicewomen and servicemen, who tirelessly stand by and support their serving relative.

Of course, Military Appreciation Month also honors the memory of military personnel who sacrificed their safety and ultimately their lives for their nation, and the war veterans of wars gone past who have now passed on.

The History of Military Appreciation Month

National Miliary Appreciation Month was chosen to fall in May by the United States Congress back in 1999. This was a move intended to offer the general public a chance to thank service members and their families for all their hard work.

Since its first observance, Military Appreciation Month has become an increasingly important and valuable month to American citizens. Every year, the President of the United States gives a proclamation.

Every year, the President of the United States gives a proclamation honoring the armed forces and offering a reminder of the considerable contribution these people have made to the country, its history, and its growth. There are already a handful of military-specific observance days in May, which is why this month was chosen.

Amongst the important military dates within this month is the commemoration of VE Day, which signaled the end of World War Two in 1945. There’s also Armed Forces Day to look out for, among others.

How to Observe Military Appreciation Month

This month would be an excellent opportunity to read up on your country’s military history or take the time to learn what makes an armed force unit run so smoothly. And if you’ve ever considered a career in the military, this month is a perfect time to learn all about the multitude of positions available within all the armed forces.

In the United States, if you are a service person past or present, you should look up major events taking part in your area to honor what you have done for your country. In addition, many companies offer discounts to you during this month as a thank you.

If you aren’t a member of the military, be sure to do your part by donating to charities which support veterans.

History of Military Appreciation Month

The American military was founded even before the country itself. To fight the British and gain independence for the future United States, the Continental Congress created the army in 1775. After winning the Revolutionary War, the Founding Fathers didn’t intend to have a standing army. They disbanded the Continental Army and called for the “well-armed militias” that have become a flashpoint in today’s debate over the Second Amendment.

Today, the U.S. military is the world’s largest employer, with close to 3.5 million personnel employed in one way or another. The U.S. Department of Defense hires more people than any other organization or corporation in the world. By contrast, Wal-Mart, the largest private company, has 2.2 million employees worldwide.

Military personnel work in a variety of jobs, and many never see combat at all. After their service, they go on to hold important civilian jobs in many fields including information security, IT, commercial airline flight, corporate management, and more.

Military Appreciation Month honors everyone who has served in a branch of the U.S. military and reminds us that we owe many of our freedoms to the sacrifices made by military personnel. The month-long celebration was formally introduced by Senator John McCain in 1999, using a month that marks many important military anniversaries to highlight the contributions of our troops. In addition to keeping the country safe during wartime, the U.S. military also conducts important research that has led to many important and useful civilian technologies that we use every day like GPS, canned food, and jet engines.

Military Appreciation Month timeline

September 20, 2011

Don't Ask Don't Tell Repealed

President Clinton's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, which barred openly gay or bisexual people from military service, is repealed by a federal appeals court and Congress.

August 9, 1945

U.S. Drops the Bomb

The United States drops two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 200,000 people, ending the war on the Eastern front, and marking the first and only time atomic weapons have been used in war.

April 19, 1865

The Civil War Ends

Robert E. Lee surrenders to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, ending the bloodiest conflict in American history.

June 14 1775

Birth of the U.S. Army

The Continental Congress votes to raise ten companies of riflemen, kicking off the American Revolution and effectively creating the U.S. Army.

Military Appreciation Month FAQs

What is Military Family Appreciation Month?

Military Family Appreciation Month is celebrated during the month of November, bringing awareness to the sacrifices and challenges family members make for their uniformed loved ones.

Is there a month for veterans?

Every year, we celebrate National Veterans and Military Families Month in November.

What are the three major military holidays?

Though there are multiple military holidays throughout the year, the three biggest ones are Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day.

5 Fascinating Facts About The Military

  1. The internet

    The web started during the Cold War as a way to connect computers in different science labs.

  2. GPS

    After satellites became more common, a government-funded space-based navigation system from the 1990s became the basis for today's everyday GPS uses.

  3. Walkie talkies

    Two-way radios were invented by Motorola on behalf of the U.S. Army in the 1940s – the radios had to be carried on soldiers’ backs as they walked, giving them their now-ubiquitous name.

  4. Duct tape

    The Duct Tape we all know and love was invented to help World War II soldiers quickly repair equipment.

  5. Microwave ovens

    This technology was accidentally invented by a Raytheon engineer from radar technology invented for the military.

Military Appreciation Month Activities

  1. Thank a military member or veteran

    Call a military member you know and thank them for their service. Let them know their efforts aren’t going unseen!

  2. Brush up on your military history

    The history of the U.S. military is full of fascinating, epic stories that run the gamut from tragedy to triumph. Take some time to read up on the many ways the military affects American society.

  3. Volunteer with a local veterans’ service organization

    Many veterans are elderly, on a fixed income, and even homeless. Find a local organization that supports these vulnerable populations and volunteer to serve some food, distribute supplies, or spend time socializing with veterans who need it.

Why We Love Military Appreciation Month

  1. It reminds us to thank our veterans

    If you know an active duty soldier or veteran, let them know you appreciate their service this month. Send them a small gift or card to thank them for their sacrifice.

  2. We can appreciate democracy

    Veterans often engage in conflicts to help preserve the values of democracy. To honor their sacrifices, we can help our communities, serve those less fortunate than us, and exercise our rights to vote and engage with our elected officials.

  3. It reminds us of all the contributions the military makes

    The military doesn’t just wage war. In peacetime, military personnel and reservists assist with relief efforts during storms, earthquakes, disease outbreaks, and other natural disasters.

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