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Armed Forces Day Draws Me to Merrill Gardens at the University in Seattle

Posted by glennled on June 1, 2022

Until this year, I’d never been asked to perform my one-hour trumpet show, “I Stand for the Flag,” on Armed Forces Day. But that changed when Mindy Milton, Active Living Program Director, booked me to return for the second time to Merrill Gardens at the University in Seattle on Saturday, 21 May 2022. (Please see my blog article of 15 August 2021.)

I played 24 patriotic marches, songs, and bugle calls on four instruments: my Getzen trumpet, Super Olds cornet, Getzen field trumpet (bugle), and Jupiter pocket trumpet. The repertoire includes “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” “Tattoo” (a bugle call), the official songs of all five branches, “The Liberty Bell” (a march by John Philip Sousa), “Over There,” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The audience sang along and laughed at a few jokes.

How does Armed Forces Day differ from other military holidays and observance days? It celebrates all five branches of the military on the third Saturday of May, annually. The five branches are the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The first four are within the Department of Defense (DOD), created in 1947. The Coast Guard is within the Department of Homeland Security, created in 2002. The Space Development Agency is one of many agencies within the DOD.

Armed Forces Day was created on 31 August 1949 when Harry S. Truman was President. It was first celebrated on 20 May 1950—five years after WWII ended and one month before the beginning of the Korean War.

The longest, continuously-running, Armed Forces Day Parade in the USA is held in Bremerton, Washington. This year, Bremerton celebrated its 73rd Armed Forces Day Parade.

Major wars and conflicts in which the U.S. military participated:

  • Revolutionary War
  • Indian Wars of the 1790s
  • War of 1812
  • American Civil War
  • Spanish-American War of 1898
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Gulf War
  • Afghanistan

Numerical facts:

  1. About 800 military bases outside the U.S.
  2. About 1.2 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military
  3. About 800,000 reserves
  4. About 18 million living veterans
  5. More than 81,600 POW/MIA personnel, mostly from WWII

Photos are courtesy of Merrill Gardens at the University. Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

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