Just what is Armed Forces Day? Is it strictly an often overlooked American thing? As the name suggests, Armed Forces Day is a day to honor all the brave men and women who have answered the call to protect their country. And no, it’s not just an American thing.
In Egypt, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on October 6, to mark the start of the October War of 1973. In Canada, following the passage of a motion in the House of Commons, Armed Forces Day is privately acknowledged on the first Sunday in June. Theirs is not a public holiday. However congratulation are given to those serving by the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of National Defense and the Chief of the Defense Staff. Different nations observe their Armed Forces Day in different ways, on different dates, based on their history and traditions.
In the United States, Armed Forces Day was established in 1949 when then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of a Unified Day to replace the separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days that were once celebrated. Armed Forces Day followed on the heals of the creation of The Department of Defense at the end of World War II. Although the federal government oversaw each branch of the military, the creation of the Department of Defense centralized operations under one massive umbrella. I’m sure the President appreciated the unification. Prior to 1949, the secretaries of each department reported directly to the President as cabinet-level advisors. Streamlining the various departments into one made sense. I suppose creating one single day to honor all the branches of the military, Coast guard and National Guard seemed equally efficient. Each year, a different theme is adopted for Armed Forces Day. The first was “Teamed up for Defense”, as an acknowledgement that each branch, though independent, fell under the direct supervision of the Department of Defense.
Why do we have a Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day? Aren’t they all the same? No. Memorial Day honors all those who died in the service to our country. Veterans Day honors those who have ever served and Armed Forces Day focuses on those on active duty.
Today we can attend a parade, display a flag or get involved in a number of ways to support our military and their families. Get involved in your community. Get your children involved. Respect and honor and duty begin at home. Saying thank you to someone in uniform will make a difference in their life and yours. It’s uplifting.
Today is also National Strawberries and Cream Day. Now the simplest way to celebrate Strawberries and Cream would be to have a big bowl of sweet strawberries smothered under a mound of whipped cream. Yeah, that sounds delicious. Another way would be to make Strawberry Crêpes. Yeah, even better!
Strawberries and Cream Crêpes
4 tablespoons Butter, melted
1 cup Flour
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup lukewarm Water
4 large Eggs
3 tablespoons Sugar
Butter, for Crêpe pan
Melt butter. Place flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a blender. Blend until well whipped. If your blender does not have a pour-spout, transfer batter to a large container with a spout. Refrigerate and let rest for 30 minutes.
Heat a non-stick Crêpe pan or omelette pan over medium-high heat. Brush pan lightly with butter. When pan is hot, pour approximately two tablespoons of the batter into the pan.
Working quickly, rotate the pan until the bottom is coated with a thin Crêpe. Cook until the top of the Crêpe is set and appears dry. Using a thin spatula or your fingers, flip the Crêpe and continue to fry a few more minutes.
Stack Crêpes, separated by waxed paper. Set aside until ready to fill.
Strawberries and Cream Filling
4 cups fresh Strawberries
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-3/4 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
Cut green tops from the strawberries. Clean berries, slice and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the sliced berries. Cover and chill until ready to use.
In a well chilled, clean bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In another well chilled, clean beat condensed milk with lemon juice until thick. Fold in strawberries and whipped cream.
Lay out the Crêpes on a flat worksurface. If necessary, work in batches. Divide the strawberry filling among the Crêpes, running down the center. Fold one end of the Crêpe over the filling, then roll. Place filled Crêpes, seam side down, on a platter.
6 whole Strawberries
Mint Leaves as desired
Powdered Sugar for dusting
Garnish platter with whole berries, mint leaves and a dusting of powdered sugar.
Serve, with chilled Champagne if desired, and enjoy.