Military Appreciation Month
May is the official month of military appreciation. It contains the two most notable military recognition holidays, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day. These two holidays thank service members both present and past for their sacrifices. We at GoEngineer are grateful for all who volunteer to serve in the armed forces of our country.
History of Armed Forces Day
President Truman created Armed Forces Day just a few years after the end of World War 2. The intention was to have one single holiday that represented all branches of our military in one. The intention of the holiday isn’t just to thank those who are currently serving in the military but to also learn about and interact with the military. This holiday permits military demonstrations all across the country; and can come in the form of:
- Air shows
- Miscellaneous Outreach events
This also allows the public access to meet and interact with service members while being able to observe the very best the military has to offer.
Armed Forces Day is personal to me.
My father was in the Army during my childhood. One of the first memories I have is driving past the giant bombers and tanks that decorated the main gate of the air force base just a mile from where I was born. During summer, I would get up at a ridiculous hour to go on base with my dad daily and help him open the hanger. This would involve running around unlocking doors along with opening the main hanger doors (the coolest thing in the world to a young child). For my entire life, the holidays in this month will have a very personal connection. I wanted to do something a little different for the holidays this month, but the question was what could I do or what would I want to convey.The feeling I would want to share on this holiday
The feeling I would want to share on this holiday
Another experience that I’ll always cherish is hearing about the South Pacific from my grandfather. He served in the south pacific in multiple capacities but he spent most of the war rebuilding/ repairing ships that were captured or damaged in the pacific theater. He would tell us stories about driving the locals around on the ships, the crazy trouble buddies go into while there, along just anything exciting of not that had happened while serving there. These stories about a life that existed long before my birth were one of my favorite things to hear about as a child. Even as an adult these are some of my most cherished memories of my grandfather, if I were able to convey anything during this holiday I would want it to be this; the ability to spur this conversation between young and old. To encourage an older generation to connect with a younger one during a holiday centered around equipment and the excitement that the military traditionally inspires in our youngest. The most important question was how would even begin to convey this feeling or spur these conversations.
Bigger project than I anticipated
I sat with friends, talked with my father and spent lots of time thinking about this topic. An idea came to me while looking at the tanks on the campus at the University of Utah. I was commenting about how soldiers would pile on to a tank to avoid having to walk around while in safe zones during World War 2. This information, of course, came from stories told by my great uncle during his time in the war.
Then I saw it, that special look! You know, the look of someone listening to a story and appreciating it? The look of a memory coming back to mind. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to bring a giant 30 ton WWII tank around with me to inspire these conversations among others. It took another 30 seconds longer than it should have to realize that this was not really a plausible idea.
Time to think of an alternative idea.
My next idea brings something slightly different with the same effect. I set off to find out where to bring this idea to inspire conversations. Being a prefect month to highlight the military and better yet, a tank, I sat down with SOLIDWORKS and a Stratasys 3D printer to begin my project. Although this project is not finished yet, take a look at the teaser image below.
I plan to finish the 3D printed version soon and look forward to sharing my experience of taking it out. I look forward to inspiring the types of conversations that I cherish so dearly. My mission is complete if I’m able to have a single conversation or help create a fond memory between a grandfather and his grandson. That alone would make this project beyond fulfilling. Stay tuned for more details in the near future.