Public invited to Armed Forces Day ceremonies

The Military & Veterans Affairs Committee of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce is hosting the annual Armed Forces Day program on Saturday, May 21. The program will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance, located at 1600 W. Russell St.

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank military members for their patriotic service in support of the country. On Aug. 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

The Armed Forces Day ceremony is hosted by the Military & Veterans Affairs Committee of the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce. It features a formal military program, a keynote address and awards. Doors open and a musical prelude begins at 10 a.m., followed by the program at 10:30 a.m.

The keynote address will be given by Brigadier General Gregory W. Lair, Assistant Adjutant General, South Dakota Air National Guard. Lair serves as the principal advisor to the Adjutant General for all matters pertaining to the South Dakota Air National Guard. He is also the Central Region Vice-Chair for the ANG Director’s Strategic Planning System. Lair is a combat veteran who has served in the Air National Guard since 1983.

The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce will present Stars and Stripes awards to Paul and Bonnie Haugen and to Dacotah Bank (East 10th St.) for proudly displaying the American flag year-round. Outstanding Achievement Awards will be presented to selected guardsmen/women and reservists for outstanding military and community achievement. This year’s recipients are:

  • Army National Guard Sergeant Melanie B. Hodak
  • Navy Reserve Information Systems Technician First Class Stephanie Backer
  • Air National Guard Staff Sergeant Trent R. Hunking

The Oath of Enlistment ceremony will also be conducted as South Dakota men and women are inducted into the U.S. Armed Forces.