National Salvation Army Week: A Primer

After two years of devastation due to the COVID pandemic, the need is greater than it has ever been. by Major Frank Duracher

In November 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation designating the first National Salvation Army Week. The annual proclamation, approved by Congress, was thereafter moved to May, spanning the week immediately following Mother’s Day.

The 2022 observance, the 68th such national salute, again serves as a public reminder of the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army, as well as a celebration of those dedicated to “Doing The Most Good”—both in the U.S. and around the world.

In his speech announcing the birth of this proclamation, President Eisenhower stated, “Among Americans, The Salvation Army has long been a symbol of wholehearted dedication to the cause of human brotherhood. In time of war, the men and women of this organization have brought to those serving their country far from home, friendliness and warm concern. In the quieter days of peace, their work has been a constant reminder to us all that each of us is neighbor and kin to all Americans. Giving freely of themselves, the men and women of The Salvation Army have won the respect of us all.”

The yearly event features a variety of activities, both on a national scale and tailored for local corps and service units, in an effort to thank all of the Army’s amazing supporters and volunteers who have made The Salvation Army one of the world’s largest and most trusted charities.

This year, for the first time, the National Salvation Army Week ties into the 2022 theme observed in all four USA territories, “Love Beyond” (see related article).

Also, as a major component for National Salvation Army Week, a wreath-laying ceremony is to be conducted at the grave of General John J. Pershing at Arlington National Cemetery. The National Commander, Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder, will lay the wreath at Pershing’s grave. General Pershing was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front during America’s involvement in World War One, 1917-1918. It was Evangeline Booth, The Salvation Army’s National Commander during that time, who offered “her Army” to assist his. The result was an association for which The Salvation Army is long-remembered—the stellar service and sacrifices of “Doughnut Girls” among military personnel during that “War To End All Wars.”

Past National Commanders have conducted similar salutes to “Black Jack” Pershing—but were conducted either on Pershing’s birthday, Veteran’s Day, or Memorial Day through the years.

Today, more than 40-million Americans live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Millions more live near the poverty line. Approximately half of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and one-third of adults between 18 and 64 live in low-income households. And after two years of devastation due to the COVID pandemic, the need is greater than it has ever been.

The Salvation Army operates more than 7,500 communities across the United States. Each unit collects high-quality data on a wide variety of poverty-related social issues. All of this is performed based on the Army’s mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

For more information on the 2022 National Salvation Army Week, please visit and/or contact your local Salvation Army unit.