The Army and the Fourth of July – An Unbreakable Bond 

7/2/2012 12:00 AM 

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate the nation’s 236th birthday.  It is a testament to the vision of our Founding Fathers, that their ideas, embodied in the Declaration of Independence, have stood the test of time and resulted in the creation of the great nation in which we live.

At the Association of the United States Army, we remember that the United States Army actually is older than the nation.  It was founded a little more than a year earlier on June 14, 1775 in order to create a force that could fight to establish the independent United States of America.    George Washington, upon assuming command of the Continental Army, said, “The fate of unborn millions now depends, under God, on the conduct and courage of this Army.”

That courageous Army, after securing the nation’s independence, went on to create a rich heritage of defending our country and developing it from coast to coast.  The birth of the nation and its Army are forever intertwined and celebrating Independence Day is also an appropriate time to celebrate the Army family – the Soldiers, family members, retirees and civilians that together make up the Army community.

The Army’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, on the occasion of the Army birthday said, “Today, America’s Army is engaged in nearly 150 countries around the world, on six continents, with over 94,000 Soldiers deployed today and 94,000 forward stationed.  Our nation depends on its Army to defend the shores of our homeland, defeat enemy soldiers abroad, and help with recovery efforts in the wake of natural disasters.”

While we celebrate our independence, we do so as a nation at war and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed that fact in his Army Birthday message when he said, “For 10 long years the Army has shouldered a heavy burden, fighting in Iraq’s city streets and in the mountains of Afghanistan.  And through it all, American Soldiers stepped bravely forward, march off toward the sound of the guns, and gave everything to provide for our security, to give all Americans a better, safer future.  They have done everything this country has asked of them and more.”

So as we celebrate Independence Day, let us not forget the long line of Soldiers who have made that independence possible.  Say a prayer for them – their service is the reason we can celebrate.

Happy Fourth of July!