Several rallies were held across the United States to celebrate the National Airborne Day of 16 August.
National Airbourne Day was established by President George W. Bush on August 14, 2002 and approved by Congress on August 3, 2009 and the Senate, with Resolution 235 which officially recognized this anniversary.
In his founding proclamation, GW Bush stated: "Air combat continues to be driven by the bravery and daring spirit of the sky soldiers. Often called into action on short notice, these forces have earned an enduring reputation for dedication, excellence and honor. As we face the challenges of a new era, I encourage all people to recognize the contributions of these brave soldiers to our nation and the world."
The date was chosen as the August 16, 1940 a platoon of the 29th Infantry Regiment (parachute test platoon), after receiving the necessary training at Fort Benning (Georgia), performed the first launches at Lawson Army Airfield and the first to launch was Lieutenant William T. Ryder.
The history of the Airborne Forces began after World War I when Brigadier General William Mitchell first conceived the idea of parachuting troops into combat. The U.S. Army conducted its first combat parachute jumps in November 1942 when soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted an operation in North Africa (in present-day Algeria) by jumping from a C-47 aircraft behind enemy lines. During the Second World War and for the following years the paratroopers of the 11a, 13th, 17th, 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions participated in all American military operations.
Parachute jumping was a major turning point for fighting as an innovative technique that allowed troops to be deployed behind enemy lines. Parachute assaults were key to the US military's success in the battles in Sicily and on D-Day in Normandy. In Korea and Vietnam, airborne soldiers also played a vital role, as well as in subsequent conflicts and several operations including Panama, Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans and Afghanistan.