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Rediscovering Fort Knox - Fort Knox celebrates first, subsequent Armed Forces Day events

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By MATTHEW RECTOR

Armed Forces Day was first observed on May 20, 1950, under President Harry Truman to provide an opportunity for Americans to honor and thank military members for their patriotic service. Fort Knox participated to share the day with visitors on the third Saturday in May.

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When President John F. Kennedy established it as an official holiday in 1962, over 35,000 people attended the celebration at Fort Knox.

One popular attraction that year included the “General,” a famous locomotive from the Civil War. The annual festivities at Fort Knox during this era included large events that showcased tanks, guns, equipment and vehicles in use at Fort Knox. While activities were generally concentrated at Brooks Field, early event locations included Godman Army Airfield and the General George Patton Museum.

Fort Knox units also supported the holiday through appearances in the surrounding communities.

In 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower said, “It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”