Armed Forces Day celebration slated for Saturday | SummitDaily.com

Armed Forces Day celebration slated for Saturday

HARRIET HAMILTON
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY ” Mothers have their day of honor. Fathers and grandparents have their days. Doctors, nurses, and even bosses get singled out once a year for special acknowledgement. And since 1950, the third Saturday in May has been designated “Armed Forces Day” to honor active members of the U.S. military as well as veterans.

First proclaimed in August, 1949, soon after the official formation of the Department of Defense, the commemorative day combined the holidays of the military’s separate branches under one umbrella celebration.

In his official proclamation of the first Armed Forces Day, President Harry Truman called on Americans to “participate in exercises expressive of our recognition of the skill, gallantry, and uncompromising to devotion duty characteristic of the Armed Forces in the carrying out of their mission.”

Although written before he was born, Truman’s exhortation was not lost on Summit County local Tim Gurule, 50. A strong believer in the value of military service, Gurule watched his son, Timothy ” a 2006 Summit High School graduate ” grow up to be a soldier.

With Timothy currently on duty overseas, Saturday’s Armed Forces Day celebration has particular poignancy for the elder Gurule.

“I worry about him constantly,” he said. Gurule emphasized the importance of acknowledging the service of every one of Summit County’s military personnel.

“We still have several kids over in the Middle East,” he said. “This is all for them. This is to recognize the service that they give and the sacrifices they make.”

Gurule originally envisioned this Saturday’s third annual Armed Forces Day rally in Silverthorne as a way to honor his own son, but he soon expanded the event to acknowledge all active and retired members of the military.

“My son told me, ‘This can’t be just about me,'” Gurule said. Last year’s celebration attracted nearly 400 people and collected more than $3,000 used to send care packages to those stationed overseas.

Since last year, Gurule has formed a registered nonprofit called the Leonidas Fund for contributions for overseas troops. Money collected at the May 17 event will be divided between the fund and the Summit County Rotary Club’s care package program. Past shipments to soldiers have included items ranging from body armor to Frisbees.

Located this year at the Summit Ford dealership in Silverthorne, Saturday’s rally is free and open to the public. Festivities will start around 9 a.m. with national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, and formally honoring of POWs and MIAs. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausage will be on sale all day, and a silent auction will include donated items such as a high-end smoker barbecue, some Harley Davidson accessories, Vonage phone service, and many others.

Recruiters from every service branch will be present, and several speakers, including Cory Voorhis and retired Brig. Gen. Mark Brennan, will address the crowd starting at 1 p.m.

A local brass band will be on hand throughout the day, with a special performance of “echotaps” at the conclusion of the speaker program.

When: Saturday, May 17, from 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Where: Summit Ford in Silverthorne

Army 523,037

Navy 332,158

Marine Corps 189,345

Air Force 328,665

Coast Guard 41,887

Total 1,415,092

Iraq 196,600

Afghanistan 25,700

(source: http://www.usa.gov)


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