Where Did R.E.D. Friday Come From?

Posted on Oct 09, 2014 by apalmer  | Comments (11)

If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter you know that every Friday we celebrate R.E.D. Friday. You most likely see lots of images like the one below, and lots of people posting pictures of themselves wearing red.

What is R.E.D. Friday?

RED is an acronym that stands for Remember Everyone Deployed. R.E.D. Friday was created to remind people of our heroes overseas and show that we are thinking of them. People across the country wear red every Friday to serve as a reminder and spread the message of how important it is that we keep our troops in our thoughts.

How did R.E.D. Friday Get Started?

Remember those email chains you used to get asking you to forward to 10 friends – or all of your friends? There were all kinds: some claiming ridiculous things, some trying to raise awareness for campaigns or diseases, and some that were just plain silly. This is how R.E.D. Friday originated: an email chain back in 2005.

According to SNOPES.com, the original email chain read:

You will soon see a lot of people wearing RED on Fridays. Here's why.....

The Americans who support our troops, are the silent majority. We are not "organized" to reflect who we are, or to reflect what our opinions are. Many Americans, like yourself, would like to start a grassroots movement using the membership of the Special Operations Association, and Special Forces Associations, and all their friends, simply to recognize that Americans support our troops. We need to inform the local VFW's and American Legion, our local press, local TV, and continue carrying the message to the national levels as we start to get this going. Our idea of showing our solidarity and support for our troops is starting Friday, and continuing on each and every Friday, until this is over, that every RED - blooded American who supports our young men and women, WEAR SOMETHING RED.

Word of mouth, press, TV — let's see if we can make the United States, on any given Friday, a sea of RED much like a home football game at a university.

If every one of our memberships share this with other acquaintances, fellow workers, friends, and neighbors, I guarantee that it will not be long before the USA will be covered in RED - and make our troops know there are many people thinking of their well-being. You will feel better all day Friday when you wear RED!

Let's get the word out and lead by example; wear RED on Fridays.

Please forward this to everyone you know!!


Sometime in 2006, the RED Campaign was adopted in Canada by Lisa Miller and Karen Boier; the wives of two Canadian servicemen. Their purpose was to spread nationwide support of Canadians overseas. The color red worked perfectly because Canadian’s official color is red. Their RED Shirt Friday campaigns were organized as rallies that spread across Canada.

Eventually, a guy by the name of Lloyd (Doc) Hofmeister became involved in the Canadian RED Shirt Fridays and decided to take it [back] to America. Lloyd started a website called redshirtfridays.org because, “I [Lloyd] know what it is like to be half a world away from your life, to feel that no one cares, and to come home to be humiliated and ashamed of your service.”

Lloyd says on his website,

"I have come full circle now. I am no longer ashamed and I realize I never should have been! My hope is that none of our armed forces will ever have to go through this again. I have seen firsthand how troop morale is as important as basic training. If morale is low, mistakes are made and people die.
Our job is to support our troops and in the process we can help to increase their morale by showing we care. Let's face it, your show of appreciation could very well save someone's son or daughter's life."

And so RED Shirt Friday spread across the U.S. thanks to military families, spouses, organizations like Soldiers’ Angels and Americans who want to make sure that our heroes overseas know they are supported. Join us!

Being a part of R.E.D. Friday is easy: just wear red on Friday and tell your friends why! You can also submit your RED Friday selfie on our Facebook page to appear in our RED Friday collage every week. We also have RED Friday T-shirts in our angel store. Proceeds go to our efforts of ensuring no soldier goes unloved.

Click here to go to the angel store.

Comments (11)

  1. Nancy:
    Oct 16, 2015 at 12:31 PM

    Um, I beg to differ about when Wear RED started. I have been wearing RED since Oct of 2003, when hubby was at Fort Drum getting ready to go to Iraq. The FRGs up there had been doing this for a couple of YEARS before then. One leader said some units have been doing this since 9-11 in some areas(mostly bases on the East Coast). It did start as Emails. But, you may have gotten the dates a little wrong.

  2. Soldiers' Angels:
    Oct 16, 2015 at 03:48 PM

    Thanks for the comment, Nancy! As with most traditions, it is impossible to tell the exact date or source of where the tradition started. R.E.D. Friday is no different--- there are several versions of when/where it started online and surely there are even more offline within the military community. We just wanted to share one story of how the tradition began so we can help keep R.E.D. Friday growing and hopefully introduce it to more people that may not already know about it! In the end, our hope is to make even more people aware of the day so we can Remember Everyone Deployed every Friday! Thank you for wearing red on Friday since 2003!! That is fantastic!! Keep spreading the word!

  3. Mark:
    Apr 15, 2016 at 07:39 AM

    I have no doubt that small groups may have been wearing red as a tribute to men & women in uniform long before the dates in this article but, as an ordinary American, I had no idea this was going on. However, as an international awareness movement, R.E.D. shirt Fridays probably did get started as written.

  4. Bullwinkle:
    Jun 03, 2016 at 08:38 AM

    I have been wearing RED shirts every Friday since 9/11/01

  5. Kayleigh holland:
    Nov 21, 2016 at 07:56 PM

    God Bless All Of Our Soldiers, My Grandpa Is A Retired Navy Veteran. I Am 13 Years Old And I Want To Write my favorite Bible Verse.......... Joshua 1:9 “ …Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”... Sincerely Kayleigh

  6. 1SGTDiva:
    May 12, 2017 at 10:39 AM

    I have also been wearing RED shirts since 09/11/2001 and I am very proud to do so. I will continue to wear RED shirts every Friday as long as God will allow breath in my body and I hope and pray that more people will do it as well. Spread the word....

  7. Frances:
    Jun 24, 2017 at 06:19 PM

    My son is still in BT and like many others, i had no idea about R.E.D Fridays before his joining. I bought a shirt out of Fort Jackson and looked up meaning. I will be one to promise to spread the word for our troops!

  8. SharronLafferty:
    Jul 08, 2017 at 06:01 PM

    We wear red on every Friday, especially for our grandson Dylan Lafferty.

  9. Bev:
    Aug 25, 2017 at 09:24 AM

    I know it was 2001. I was teaching in a private charter school - with uniforms required. I asked permission for our students to add red shirts on Fridays, as I had started doing it due to an email I had received. And I asked my T-shirt guy to print special ones for me to wear, and give out as a reward to my best readers. We had printed "Support Our Troops" on the front, and my favorite saying on the back: "If you can read this, Thank a teacher. If you are reading this in English, Thank a Marine." (I was a Marine wife over 10 years!) One of my students suggested we change that to "Veteran" as his family was Army - and he wanted to earn a shirt! I proudly complied. I gave them out every grading period for 6 years. I still wear a red shirt on Friday. It says - on the front why ... SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. When they get too faded, I have Doug at D's Tees create a new one for me and sometimes friends and family.
    Unfortunately Red on Friday has not caught on like we wanted back then. But we keep trying!
    Sorrento, FL

  10. Jim Retzer:
    Dec 06, 2017 at 11:08 AM

    One of my co-workers is a veteran and introduced RED Shirt Fridays here at the office. I looked up the origin and found your page and was surprised to learn that it arose independently (and somewhat arbitrarily) between 2001-06.

    I always thought it dated back to WWII, when on Monday, 8 December 1941, the day President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan, chaplain of the House of Representatives, Dr. James Montgomery, opened the session with a prayer:

    "...Hold us steadfastly to the realization that the richest garments of our country's character are often sewn with the crimson threads of sacrifice and suffering..."

  11. rebecca pennypacker:
    Jun 01, 2018 at 07:14 PM

    I have been wearing RED on Fridays since 1965, when my husband first went to Vietnam.....

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