Armed Forces Week is celebrated in the week leading up to Armed Forces Day, May 15, 2021. For American service members, Armed Forces Week is an occasion to remember past and present service for all branches of the service. Once upon a time there was a separate occasion for each branch of the military, later consolidated into a single remembrance. Armed Forces Week is not a uniquely American recognition of military service. Many countries celebrate an Armed Forces Day/Week including South Korea, Iran, China, and many others.
Armed Forces Day was observed for the first time on May 20, 1950, the day was created on August 31, 1949 to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches. Armed Forces Day/Week was created in the wake of the consolidation of military services under the United States Department of Defense. Although Armed Forces Week/Day officially replaced separate Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Days, each branch of the service still honors its own day.