On Aug. 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday in May be set aside to honor all of the Armed Forces. The following May the tradition began.

Kansas City’s Armed Forces Day will be a two-day free event starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Zona Rosa main stage in Kansas City North. KSHB TV 41 midday anchor Cynthia Newsome will emcee the event highlighted by the American Legion Band Ensemble “All Service Salute” to our military, the veterans and their families. The fallen will be remembered with the Patriot Guard Riders escorting battlefield crosses onto the stage followed by the American Gold Star Mothers, reading the 240 names of locally fallen military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The evening will conclude with a performance by a Whiteman Air Force Base vocal group.

A parade is planned for Saturday at noon followed by five hours of non-stop entertainment by local bands and performers, including the popular classic rock band Albert Flasher.

Yours truly will share emceeing duties with Fox 4 Anchor Susan Hiland for a closing evening concert.

We will be assisted by KMBC-TV 9 anchor/reporter Stephanie Ramos. The Army Reserve captain will sing the national anthem and will later join with me, the America Gold Star Families and members of the Gladstone VFW Color Guard in a special flag-folding culminating with echo “Taps.”

The full, award-winning American Legion Band will perform throughout including the popular All Service Salute led by 949 KCMO radio personality Dick Wilson.

The night will conclude with a “God Bless America” flag waving sing-along followed by dancing the night away with the Albert Flasher Band that features KFKF radio personality Tony Steven.

This annual Kansas City tribute to those who protect us has been the unselfish work of David Page, a Gladstone resident who created this two-day event three years ago. He has been a rock and an inspiration to all of us.

And for me there will be no greater thrill than to see all of those smiling tearful faces amid all of those waving flags as we say “thank you” to those in harm’s way and to all who served.

And the man who helped create the U.S. Navy, President John Adams, would be quite pleased with the event that Kansas City volunteers produced and would proudly toast: “I give you independence forever.”

Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.