John F. Kennedy photo

Proclamation 3399—Armed Forces Day

March 18, 1961

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas the survival of our cherished freedoms is dependent in large measure upon the capabilities of our armed forces to discourage totalitarian aggression; and

Whereas the armed forces of the United States serve as a unified team, at home and across the seas, in the pursuit of a durable peace; and

Whereas the strength of our armed forces rests not alone upon their active and reserve members, our industrial productivity, and our human resources, but also upon the understanding and support of an informed American people; and

Whereas we seek to acknowledge and to manifest our appreciation for the dedication and self-sacrifice of the members of our armed forces and their families:

Now, Therefore, I, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the United States, do hereby proclaim the third Saturday of May in 1961 and the third Saturday of May in each succeeding year as Armed Forces Day.

I direct the Secretary of Defense on behalf of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps, and the Secretary of the Treasury on behalf of the Coast Guard, to designate that day each year for appropriate ceremonies, demonstrations, and displays both at armed-forces installations and in civilian communities at the invitation of civil authorities. The Secretary of Defense, as my personal representative, shall assume responsibility for initiating, formulating, and supervising the program contemplated by this proclamation and for soliciting the participation and cooperation in such program by civil authorities and distinguished private citizens.

I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the Commissioners of the District of Columbia to provide for the observance of Armed Forces Day within their jurisdictions each year in an appropriate manner designed to enhance public understanding and appreciation of the armed forces of the United States as defenders of freedom at home and abroad.

I also ask my fellow Americans, as an expression of support for their armed forces and as a symbol of their unity in devotion to the preservation of our country, to display prominently the flag of the United States on Armed Forces Day.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this eighteenth day of March in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-fifth.

Signature of John F. Kennedy


By the President:


Secretary of State.

John F. Kennedy, Proclamation 3399—Armed Forces Day Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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