Congress, Nation Designate Military Appreciation Month
By Gene Harper
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 30, 2004 Both chambers of the U.S. Congress have adopted a resolution calling for Americans to recognize and honor U.S. service members during May's National Military Appreciation Month.
Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, along with 16 cosponsors, introduced Concurrent Resolution No. 328 in the House in November. The Senate agreed to it without amendment and by unanimous consent April 26.
The resolution states that the House, with the Senate concurring, "supports the goals and objectives of a National Military Appreciation Month." It also "urges the president to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States, localities, organizations and media to annually observe" the month "with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Finally, the resolution urges the White House Commission on Remembrance to "work to support the goals and objectives" of the month.
The Senate first passed a resolution in 1999 designating National Military Appreciation Month. That declaration summoned U.S. citizens to observe the month "in a symbol of unity, to honor the current and former members of the armed forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom and peace."
Traditionally, May has focused on the military in many ways. For example, Public Service Recognition Week, celebrated the first full Monday through Sunday in May since 1985, recognizes the roles of public servants, including the military, at local, state, regional and federal levels. As a part of PSRW, communities across America showcase military equipment and service members from U.S. installations. The largest PSRW event takes place on Washington's National Mall, where more than 100 federal agencies, including the military services, put their activities, people and equipment on public display. This year's mall event is May 6-9.
Armed Forces Day, created in 1949, is an annual event held on the third Saturday in May, with activities at U.S. military bases around the world. This year's celebration occurs May 15.
The month culminates with Memorial Day, a federal holiday on the last Monday in May. The day, dating from the Civil War era, traditionally has marked recognition of those who have died in service to the nation. Each year on Memorial Day, the White House Commission on Remembrance promotes one minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to honor the military's fallen comrades and to pay tribute to the sacrifices by the nation's service members and veterans.