Just because the Fourth of July is over doesn’t mean we, as a nation, don’t have anymore patriotic holidays to celebrate. August is full of military holidays that deserve our salute, because these are days that represent great milestones in our country’s history. Learn more about these August military holidays, from their origins to how to observe them, below!
All of August: Antiterrorism Month
The entire month of August is dedicated as Antiterrorism Awareness Month. This awareness month was designed to raise recognition toward the threat of terrorism, as well as encourage communication and observance of potential threats to properly report them. Antiterrorism Awareness was created to use as a reminder to civilians to always report suspicious activity as well as give active duty military personal a chance to train and prepare for domestic terrorism situations.
August 4th: Coast Guard Day
On this day, we celebrate Coast Guard Day. In 1790, then-Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, commemorated the founding of the Revenue Marine, or as we now call them, the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has been officially operating under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security and is dedicated to enforcing maritime laws and regulations as well as being committed to saving many lives at sea.
Coast Guard Day is typically celebrated by both active and retired Coast Guardsmen, civilian employees, and dependents. Coast Guard units across the country celebrate with picnics and organized sporting competitions while a large Coast Guard Festival is held every year in Grand Haven, Michigan.
August 7th: Purple Heart Day
Receiving a Purple Heart is an honorable award to be given as it is the oldest military decoration that is still awarded to U.S. military members. While the criteria list for earning one is intricate, it is generally awarded to military personnel who have been wounded, captured as a prisoner of war, or while fighting against certain types of domestic terrorism. The purple heart is a symbolism of bravery, first created on August 7th of 1782 by General George Washington.
August 12th: National Spirit of ’45 Day
Keep the Spirit of ‘45 alive! Spirit of ’45 Day is observed on the second weekend of August, every year. This military holiday coincides with the anniversary of August 14, 1945. This was the day President Harry S. Truman announced that Japan had surrendered the war. Spontaneous celebrations broke out world-wide from the news. The most destructive war in history was finally over and America wasted no time in rebuilding a foundation to better our country’s future.
August 14th: National Navajo Code Talkers Day
During WWII, the machines that were used to send coded messages did not work well in the jungles of the Pacific Islands. These coded messages were vital to the United States military in order to send confidential messages from the battle lines to air bases or other military camps.
That’s when the Navajo “code talkers” stepped in. Native Americans who could speak the Navajo language used English code words that they translated into their own language to send messages to each other. While the Japanese military could hear these messages, they were not able to translate them as the Navajo language was not well known. The code talkers helped save many lives and assisted greatly in the triumph of the war. For their service, in 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared August 14th to be National Navajo Code Talkers Day.
August 16th: National Airborne Day
National Airborne Day honors the nation’s airborne divisions and paratroopers of the Armed Forces. It was created by our 43rd President, George W. Bush in 2001. August 16 of 1940 was the first successful Army parachute jump at Ft. Benning, Georgia. It was this jump that paved the way for United States troops to enter behind enemy lines by way of parachute.
August 29th: Marine Corps Reserve Birthday
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Appropriations Act, which established the creation of the Marine Corps Reserve. Currently, there are around 40,000 Reserve Marines and 184 training centers in the U.S.
As much as our military does for our country, each and every branch deserves their own celebration. We might not light off fireworks or have parades for each holiday, but showing your honor and respect for military personal in your own way on these patriotic holidays this month is a great place to start!