Military holidays are special days during which we can celebrate our nation’s armed forces. Some of them fall on specific dates to remember events in U.S. history. Others are held to honor groups within the military community — such as Veterans — and remind us how we got our freedom in the first place.
Mark your calendars so you can celebrate these holidays with the rest of the military community. Here’s a full breakdown of all the military holidays and what dates they fall on in 2020:
January Military Holidays
Unfortunately, there are no military holidays to celebrate in January!
February Military Holidays
- Four Chaplains Day – Feb. 3: This day commemorates four World War II chaplains who died saving their fellow service members after the SS Dorchester was torpedoed by a German submarine. You can read more about it here.
- USO Birthday – Feb. 4: The USO’s dedication to helping service members stretches all the way back to this day in 1941.
- Presidents’ Day – Third Monday in February: While Presidents’ Day isn’t strictly military, it does celebrate the birthday of President George Washington, who served as a general in the Continental Army. Find out which presidents served in the military here.
- Coast Guard Reserve Birthday – Feb. 19: The Coast Guard Reserve was established on this day in 1941.
March Military Holidays
- Navy Reserve Birthday – March 3: The Navy Reserve’s history goes back over a hundred years, to this day in 1915.
- Hug a GI Day – March 4: The term GI gained popularity in World War II, meaning “Government Issue,” but referring to the generic enlisted soldier. Even though it’s usually directed to Army soldiers, use this day to give a hug (when wanted) to any service member of the armed forces.
- Seabee Birthday – March 5: Seabees are any sailors who serve in a Naval Construction Force or Battalion; their nickname comes from the initials “C.B.” — Construction Battalion. This day goes out to all the Seabees!
- K9 Veterans Day – March 13: Not all our Veterans stand on two legs. March 13 celebrates the dogs who have served with our soldiers to keep the U.S. safe. You can read more about K9 Veterans here.
- American Legion Birthday – March 15: The American Legion is an organization of U.S. war Veterans with local posts all over the nation. It may come as a surprise that it was founded over a hundred years ago — on March 15, 1919.
- Medal of Honor Day – March 25: This day celebrates Medal of Honor recipients and their incredible service and sacrifice that earned them such high regard.
- National Vietnam War Veterans Day – March 29: Starting in 2012, and officially becoming “National Vietnam War Veterans Day” in 2017, this day honors the brave Veterans of the Vietnam War.
April Military Holidays
- Month of the Military Child – Whole Month: The month of April is dedicated to our nation’s military children, whose childhoods are often spent in multiple places and whose parents may be absent or busy in their service to the armed forces. These children are resilient and special.
- Gold Star Spouses Day – April 5: This day is meant for the spouses of deceased service members, to remind them that they are not alone in their grief. To read about the history of Gold Star Spouses Day, click here.
- National Former POW Recognition Day – April 9: POWs, or Prisoners of War, have endured unimaginable hardship in their service. This holiday recognizes their sacrifice.
- Air Force Reserve Birthday – April 14: The Air Force Reserve was founded on this day in 1948.
May Military Holidays
- Month of the Military Caregiver – Whole Month: Military caregivers work tirelessly to increase the quality of life for disabled and senior Veterans. We salute them during the month of May.
- National Military Appreciation Month – Whole Month: May is also the month to send your love and appreciation to the armed forces as a whole. Donate to your favorite military nonprofit, volunteer, thank a service member or Veteran, or send a letter to a deployed soldier in May.
- Public Service Recognition Week – First Week: Those who serve the public — such as military personnel, cops, firefighters, postmen, teachers, and more — are recognized during this week. Take them out to dinner to celebrate their selfless service!
- Silver Star Service Banner Day – May 1: The Silver Star is the third-highest honor to receive as a service member. It is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the U.S. Remember Silver Star recipients on this day.
- Loyalty Day – May 1: Loyalty Day could also be called Patriot Day; and while it’s not strictly a military holiday, no one has more loyalty than a U.S. soldier.
- VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) – May 8: This day signifies the end of World War II in Europe, officially recognized on May 8, 1945.
- Military Spouse Appreciation Day – Friday Before Mother’s Day: Military spouses sacrifice much of their lives in order to support their service members. In light of this, Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a day just for them: to honor their commitment and their love.
- Children of Fallen Patriots Day – May 13: This day recognizes all the children of parents who have fallen in service to the U.S. armed forces.
- Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday: Armed Forces Day is the Veterans Day equivalent for active duty service members. Thank a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or Coastie today!
- Memorial Day – Last Monday: As you celebrate this three-day weekend, remember the reason why: Memorial Day is dedicated to all the men and women who have died for your freedoms as an American.
June Military Holidays
- D-Day – June 6: D-Day commemorates the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944. The land the Allies were able to capture in the following days and months proved instrumental to victory in World War II.
- Women Veterans Day – June 12: Use this day to celebrate the female Veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
- Army Birthday – June 14: The United States Army was founded on this day in 1775.