The month of June is especially meaningful for Soldiers because it is when we celebrate the Army’s birthday.
From its founding by the Continental Congress 236 years ago, the Army has remained young and strong because it always has been infused with new recruits – patriotic men and women who are the heart of the Army and who keep it vigorous and vital with new ideas, virtue and valor.
Commenting on the Army’s birthday, Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler said, “Happy birthday to those who make the Army what it is today, the premier fighting force in the free world. You are America’s Army, and you are Army Strong.” Those who make the Army what it is today include the families who stand behind Soldiers and give them an anchor while they endure the hardships of training, deploying and fighting. The Army of today is strong also because of its veterans – those who link yesterday’s battles and yesterday’s units to those of today in an unbroken line back to the Soldiers who decided to take up arms in the cause of freedom 236 years ago.
Today’s Soldiers serve around the world and continue the tradition of America’s Army: the Strength of the Nation. In Washington, the Army’s birthday will be marked with many events – a birthday ball, a wreath- laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns, cake cuttings at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, a historically accurate Twilight Tattoo and an Army run. Across the nation, baseball fans will pause during games to honor Soldiers and their families, and at Army garrisons around the world cake cutting ceremonies and other events will celebrate the Army’s 236 years defending our nation.
AUSA chapters will join in the celebration with their own birthday balls, golf tournaments and cake cutting ceremonies, and Army Birthday/Flag Day breakfasts or picnics.
As the 37th Chief of Staff of the Army, General Marty Dempsey said recently, “From the first battles at Lexington and Concord to the streets of Mosul and Kandahar, Soldiers have always defended freedom and epitomized what is best about America. We will remain the nation’s decisive force, the clearest symbol of America’s commitment to freedom and the country’s preeminent leadership experience.
I could not have said that better, and as we at AUSA celebrate the Army’s birthday, I ask that you remember the more than 120,000 Soldiers on duty in combat zones in harm’s way. Take a moment to reflect on the selfless and loyal service of hundreds of thousands of Soldiers each and every day regardless of their duty location – service marked with honor and courage and exemplary of our values as an Army and as Americans – and remember to thank them and say a prayer for them in your own way.