Words & Photos: JBLM celebrates Armed Forces Day 2014

By J.M. Simpson on May 18, 2014

Ethan Starr's interest was piqued.

"I'm interested in explosive ordinance disposal," he said as his friend, Cody Whitman, helped him into a protective suit.

"I think I would like to serve in the Army."

One of several thousand visitors, Starr had found the nation's 64th Armed Forces Day celebration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to his liking.

"It's good to get a glimpse of what soldiers do," Starr continued.

Begun on Aug. 31, 1949 by then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, Armed Forces Day allows the military to highlight its service members and their equipment to the general public.

It is also a day to honor and acknowledge soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for the service they provide.

>>> Thousands attended the nation's 64th Armed Forces Day celebration at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> With the help of some face paint, Patrick Provencio began to look like a Ninja Turtle. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Members of the Washington Civil War Association fire a 10-pound Parott Cannon during a Civil War reenactment at Memorial Stadium. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Highlighting events at JBLM's Memorial and Cowan stadiums yesterday were historical displays, carnival rides, a variety of foods and drinks, a climbing wall, music and entertainment, a 10K Volksmarch and Civil War reenactments.

"It's really a fun day," commented Army veteran Rick Tweddell moments after being freed from some stocks used as a form of punishment in the 1700s.

"It is good that the Armed Forces are remembered and supported by the public."

>>> Brooklynn Yeates takes the controls of a MH-60 Helicopter during Armed Forces Day festivities at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

>>> Eric Haines - the One Man Band - entertained visitors to Joint Base Lewis-McChord with his music and singing. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson