Introduced in 1999 by Sen. John McCain and honored every May, Military Appreciation Month encourages Americans to reflect on the sacrifices made by soldiers, sailors, and all current and former military personnel.

May is an appropriate month for a military remembrance, since the month also includes VE Day, which commemorates the end of World War II in Europe, and culminates in Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May to honor veterans who died in service.

During the month of May, Military Appreciation Month pays tribute to the members of the military.

HISTORY OF MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH

The American military was founded even before the country itself. To fight the British and gain independence for the future United States, the Continental Congress created the army in 1775. After winning the Revolutionary War, the Founding Fathers didn’t intend to have a standing army. They disbanded the Continental Army and called for the “well-armed militias” that have become a flashpoint in today’s debate over the Second Amendment.

Today, the U.S. military is the world’s largest employer, with close to 3.5 million personnel employed in one way or another. The U.S. Department of Defense hires more people than any other organization or corporation in the world. By contrast, Wal-Mart, the largest private company, has 2.2 million employees worldwide.

Military personnel work in a variety of jobs, and many never see combat at all. After their service, they go on to hold important civilian jobs in many fields including information security, IT, commercial airline flight, corporate management, and more.

Military Appreciation Month honors everyone who has served in a branch of the U.S. military and reminds us that we owe many of our freedoms to the sacrifices made by military personnel. The month-long celebration was formally introduced by Senator John McCain in 1999, using a month that marks many important military anniversaries to highlight the contributions of our troops. In addition to keeping the country safe during wartime, the U.S. military also conducts important research that has led to many important and useful civilian technologies that we use every day like GPS, canned food, and jet engines.