May stands out for a lot of reasons — summer is just around the corner, after all — but it also distinguishes itself as being National Military Appreciation Month.
National Military Appreciation Month consists of six holidays perfect for honoring service members and their families. While every day is a good day to honor those in the armed forces, these days are distinguished as particularly special.
Let’s talk a little about each in the chronological order they fall in 2023.
The individual holidays in National Military Appreciation Month
Each of the six military holidays in May serves a unique purpose, dedicated to a specific cause.
Loyalty Day (May 1)
This holiday is unique in both its relative obscurity and its purpose compared to the other military-themed holidays in May. Congress has described Loyalty Day as “a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom.” If there’s an ideal day to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, this is it.
VE Day (May 8)
Short for “Victory in Europe Day,” this day marks the anniversary of the end of World War II on the European front in 1945. This holiday is recognized and celebrated across the world, and the U.S. is no exception. We had many allies in Europe who helped end the Second World War, and this day is for them.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day (May 12)
This day takes place every year on the Friday before Mother’s Day — May 12 in 2023. As you can probably tell by the name, this particular holiday is to commemorate and honor the spouses of those in the armed forces. These husbands and wives serve in their own capacities, encouraging their partners in any way they can. For many service members, their spouse’s support is invaluable.
Mother’s Day (May 14)
This holiday is held annually on the second Sunday of May. In 2023, that’s the 14th. Whether it’s a mother with a child in the military, a mother who serves or one who helps care for children with a serving father, they all deserve a special place on Mother’s Day. Many mothers are veterans themselves who instilled in their children values taught by the military: honor, discipline and patriotism, to name just a few.
Armed Forces Day (May 20)
Every third Saturday in May is when the U.S. celebrates Armed Forces Day, which in 2023 lies on May 20th. First celebrated in 1949, this day specifically honors those who currently serve in the armed forces. Originally, there were individual holidays for each military branch: Army Day, Navy Day and so on. This is the perfect time to help out the families of those who are away from home, selflessly serving their country.
Memorial Day (May 29)
The month’s observances end on the last Monday in May, when Memorial Day is held — May 29th, 2023. Veterans Day is for those who formerly served, Armed Forces Day is for the currently serving and Memorial Day is for those who have given their lives to protect the American way of life. Many visit the graves of fallen service members to pay their respects to these honored souls.
There is no better time to honor those in the armed forces
The year consists of many military-themed holidays, but no month is so bursting with meaning than National Military Appreciation Month. This year, demonstrate your appreciation for everything the service members in our armed forces do by recognizing and commemorating each holiday.