National Military Appreciation Month

soldiers folding a flag
••• Offical Army Photo Photo Credit: Sgt. Luisito Brooks

May is National Military Appreciation Month. There are so many days set aside for celebrating and commemorating our military's achievements during the month of May and recognizing those on active duty in all branches of the services, the National Guard and Reserves plus retirees, veterans, and all of their families.

Days Celebrating the Military in May

  • May 1st - Loyalty Day, established in 1921 as a day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.
  • May 7th - National Day of Prayer, an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress (36 U.S.C. § 119) , when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and meditation".
  • May 8th - VE Day, Victory in Europe Day - celebrated to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender of its armed forces, thus marking the end of World War II in Europe.
  • May 8th - Military Spouse Day, celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day in the United States to acknowledge the significant contributions, support, and sacrifices of spouses of their Armed Forces.
  • May 9th to 17th - Armed Forces Week begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May. *
  • May 16th - Armed Forces Day (which kicks off Armed Forces Week), Created in 1949 to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force Days. *
  • May 25th - Memorial Day, the only federal holiday in the month for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.

    National Military Appreciation Month was designated in 1999 by Congress to provide a period encompassing both the history and recognition of our armed services with an in-depth look at the diversity of its individuals and achievements.

    Also in May is Public Service Recognition Week, set as the first full Monday through Sunday in May (May 3 to May 9 this year), which was established to recognize the roles of public servants, including the military, at local, state, regional and federal levels.

    During the month, many activities and events are planned at military installations and agencies around the world, as well as veteran’s groups/associations such as the American Legion and VFW, with some combining two or more observances.

    State and Local Events for the Military in May

    In addition to the National recognition, there are also recognition/appreciation events on state and local levels — for instance, in Florida, there are a slew of events (not intended as all-inclusive):

    • Fort Walton Beach, May 8: Military Spouse Appreciation Day Specials
    • Homestead, May 30: Military Appreciation Day
    • Jacksonville Beach, May 14: Beaches Military Appreciation Luncheon
    • Orange Park, May TBD: Clay County Military Appreciation Luncheon
    • Palm Coast - May 2: GratitudeAmerica Military Appreciation Golf Tournament
    • Ponte Verda Beach - May 5: Military Appreciation Day at The Players (PGA)
    • Punta Gorda, May 1-31: Military Appreciation Month at King Fisher Fleet
    • Titusville, May 2: Space Coast Military Appreciation Day

      Another example is in Ohio, where King’s Island offers free admission for Military personnel from the 22nd of May through the 25th

      This year, Con-way Truckload Launched a Military Appreciation Initiative, called True to the Troops, and proclaimed May 1 "Con-way Truckload True to the Troops Day".

      There are many more examples - be sure to check your local papers for notices of events in your state. Be aware, though, that not all state and local level recognition/appreciation are in the month of May.

      * Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in the month of May.