National Airborne Day brings forth an ideal opportunity to pay tribute to the courage and dedication of airborne members of the Armed Forces.
History of National Airborne Day
National Airborne Day has been marked every year since 2002, when it was established by then US President George W Bush and passed by the United States Congress. Following this, in August 2009, the US Senate offered its own recognition of National Airborne Day with Senate Resolution 235.
The date chosen for the occasion is significant as it is the anniversary of the first official US Army parachute jump, on August 16, 1940. During this flight, forty-eight volunteers who were all members of the Parachute Test Platoon carried out a successful jump in the state of Georgia – showing the way forward to hundreds of thousands of paratroopers who later followed in their footsteps. This was an especially critical time in the life of the military as it was just before the US was about to get involved with the Allies fighting against the Nazis in World War II.
Each year on National Airborne Day, a ceremony is held at Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence in Georgia, which is the place where the 1940 flights took place. There also may be services held in other parts of the US and paratroopers have even marked the occasion in Afghanistan.
How to Celebrate National Airborne Day
Wondering how to observe and celebrate National Airborne Day? Consider some of these ideas for ways to get involved with the day:
Thank an Airborne Soldier
One special way to observe National Airborne Day might be to show appreciation to someone who is in the Air Force, which could be a friend, family member or neighbor who has served as an Airman or in another capacity. Write them a note of thanks, buy them a coffee or take them out to lunch to tell them just how much their service in the Air Force really means.
Attend a National Airborne Day Ceremony
Various US Air Force bases around the United States and in other parts of the world may offer services or events that commemorate this important celebration. Check at a local base to find out which ones are hosting celebrations for National Airborne Day, showing appreciation for these important “Airborne Soldiers”.
Observe a Minute of Silence
For those who cannot attend a service or do not have one in their local area on National Airborne Day, it’s certainly still possible to mark the day. This is best done by holding a minute’s silence, which can be observed individually or organized by a group of people in schools, at work or in other gatherings of people. It’s a great way to remember the work and innovation that goes into the protection that the armed forces, specifically the airborne divisions, offer to the people of the US and various other places on the globe.
Learn More About Airborne Troops
National Airborne Day is the ideal opportunity to get a bit more educated and knowledgeable about the work that these special groups of people do. Watch a documentary, read a book or brush up through some internet research to find out how the US Airborne Troops have evolved in the more than eighty years since that first parachute jump took place in Georgia in 1940.
Visit an Air Force Museum
One exciting way to learn more about airborne soldiers and troops might be to visit a museum that focuses on the topic. Several of these are located throughout the US, in cities like Dayton, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Roy, Utah; Warner Robins, Georgia, and a variety of others.
These museums offer not only information, but also access for visitors to see and even get inside various vintage airplanes and aircraft that are on display, as well as missiles and other relevant items. Take the whole family or a class of students to enjoy celebrating National Airborne Day!