WASHINGTON, D.C. -- They can probably be forgiven for not noticing. Most of my "colleagues" in the so-called mainstream media have been very busy this week. Chasing after classified information leaked about the National Security Agency or searching out those who have a problem with President Bush dispatching 6,000 National Guard troops to protect our southern border is hard work. What with all these important stories -- and "breaking news" over a Duke University lacrosse-team rape case and the release of the "Da Vinci Code" heresy flick -- they were probably too exhausted to note that Sat., May 20 is Armed Forces Day.
Or maybe it's because Armed Forces Day is just at the wrong time of year. It's sandwiched in between Easter and Memorial Day. It lacks the legacy of Veteran's Day on Nov. 11. And after all, Armed Forces Day, which honors those currently serving in our military, isn't sufficiently "politically correct" to warrant a three-day holiday. Thus the occasion has pretty much been ignored by the potentates of the press since it was first observed in 1950.
Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson came up with the idea as a means of showing appreciation for those who were presently serving our nation. He reasoned that those who had previously served had Veteran's Day -- once called "Armistice Day" for the date in which World War I ended -- and that Memorial Day was a tribute to our war dead -- but that those who presently served on freedom's frontiers were given scant recognition. The president and Congress agreed and on May 20, 1950 President Harry S. Truman said, "Armed Forces Day … marks the first combined demonstration by America's defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense."
Truman's sentiment may have been correct -- but his words were grossly inaccurate. Thirty-six days after that first Armed Forces Day, the North Korean People's Army charged across the 38th parallel and smashed inadequately trained and equipped U.S. and South Korean Army forces that tried to stand in their path. Pushed into a tiny pocket at Pusan on the southeast coast of the peninsula, the U.S. military struggled for nearly three months to simply avert catastrophe.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.