Today is Air Force Day, a day establish to recognize the contribution of air power to our nation's defense.
Air Force Day was established on Aug. 1, 1947, by President Truman "in recognition of the personnel of the victorious Army Air Forces and all those who have developed and maintained our nation's air strength." Aug. 1 was chosen to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment, in 1907, of the Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the Army.
Air Force Day came into being immediately after the signing of the National Security Act of 1947, although the status of the air element of the military was uncertain. Thus, although it was called Air Force Day, its first celebration was staged by the Army Air Forces and not by the U.S. Air Force.
Underlying the Air Force Day celebration was a need to increase "both official and public awareness of the priority of importance of air forces in any system of national security," according to Mr. Truman. "The great strategic fact of our generation is that the United States now possesses live frontiers - the frontiers of the air - and that the oceans are no longer sure ramparts against attack."
In his message to the nation on the first Air Force Day, Mr. Truman said, "I remind all of our citizens that the air power of the nation is essential to the preservation of our liberty, and that the continued development of the science of air transportation is vital to the trade and commerce of a peaceful world."
Air Force Day was last officially observed on Aug. 1, 1949.
Today, however, Air Force Day takes on an even more significant meaning. After World War II, the Department of Defense saw an increased need for air supremacy, held the Air Force was established as a separate department.
Today, the Air Force is engaged in not just protecting our skies, but in protecting our cyber security as well. That just goes to show how far the Air Force has embraced technology in expanding its mission.
We can thank the Air Force for keeping ours a free nation. And we shall continue to be free as long as we continue to have brave men and women who are willing to lay their lives on the line in defense of our nation.