Countries around the world celebrate their nations Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines). The date and the type of celebration varies by country, but this day in all countries recognize, honor and show appreciation to the people who serve or who have served to protect the nation. Click here to read more about Armed Forces Days
Guatemala celebrates their Army Day on June 30th every year.
Army Day, or ‘Día del Ejército’ commemorates all of the fallen soldiers that have served in the Guatemalan armed forces. It also celebrates the anniversary of an important turning point in Guatemalan history, the Liberal Revolution.
History of Army Day in Guatemala
In 1871, the ruler of Guatemala was President Vincente Cerna, who carried out much of the similar policies as his conservative predecessor, Rafael Carrera. Both of these men were considered to be dictators by many Guatemalans. The people were finally pushed to their limit when Marshal Serapio Cruz, an outspoken opposer of the Cerna regime, was assassinated. Generals Justo Rufino Barrios and Miguel García Granados lead soldiers into the capital, Guatemala City, and defeated Cerna’s forces on June 29th, 1871. The next day, Cerna fled to Honduras and the two generals entered the presidential palace.
This event is known as the Liberal Revolution, and is widely taught and remembered in Guatemala to this day.
How Army Day is Celebrated
To commemorate this important holiday, the Guatemalan military conducts 1 or more parades through major cities to highlight the strength and unity of the armed forces. Special competitions are also held on this day within the military, such as obstacle courses and marching tournaments. This day is not always peaceful, however, as often times relatives of victims that have died from military conflict hold protests against the parades.