Armed forces and Rhody Days


May 16, 2018 — Our annual Rhody Days is fast approaching, where the entire community comes out in a variety of ways to celebrate this century-plus tribute to our community’s heritage.

Our streets and highways will fill with tourist traffic, not to mention us locals, for several days. Our town will be buzzing with activities such as a vendor’s fair on Maple Street. The Port will be overflowing with the Davis Carnival, who has been a part of the celebration since 1955!

Shows for flowers, cars and motorcycles will be spread around town. There will be a car cruise for vehicles, a Rhody Run for pedestrians, and the Rhododendron Court Coronation for the whole community kicking the festivities off Thursday night.

Parades will be held on Saturday for the little kids, and on Sunday for us bigger kids.

While our community has been celebrating this way since 1908, it isn’t actually the 111th such celebration because the Florence community took breaks in the previous century when interrupted by WWI, the stock market crash, and again by WWII.

Despite all this bustling activity going on the third weekend of May, one celebration that is always overlooked is the recognition of Armed Forces Day, observed on Saturday May 19.

It might be considered ironic that those very Veterans who served in WWI and WWII when our Rhody Festival tradition was interrupted, were actually off in foreign lands serving our nation to preserve our opportunities to so celebrate. 

Yet, during this annual celebration when our community is so busy celebrating the flower and traditions, we fail to celebrate Armed Forces Day and recognize our military traditions.

Since the five armed branches were all established on various dates ranging from 1775 to 1947, originally each branch celebrated their own birthday on dates pertinent to those established dates.

Armed Forces Day was formally created in 1949 to honor Americans currently serving in all of those branches, combining the various ‘birthdays,’ and President John F. Kennedy established Armed Forces Day as an official federal holiday in 1962.

So, as we celebrate Rhody Days this May, hoist an American flag or your favorite military branch flag. Or, stop by the Oregon Coast Military Museum and view our Armed Forces Day display.

Take the time to thank the Veterans of our community and reflect on what the traditions of our nation’s military heritage do for us.

You can learn more about military heritage by visiting our website at www.oregoncoast militarymuseum.com or visit the museum, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., located at 2145 Kingwood St.


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