Army birthday week is about recognizing more than two centuries of soldiers defending freedom, and about saying thank you to those Americans who have ceaselessly supported them in the effort.
The Army celebrated its 237th birthday June 14.
The birthday week, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh said during a reception before a Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., June 12, is to "provide us each year the opportunity to pause and celebrate our incredible traditions – 237 years of going out, heeding the call, wherever that call is heard ... protecting freedom and defending innocence, and making a difference in the lives of deserving people."
McHugh, who hosted the event, also said the birthday recognition is to thank Americans – such as those in attendance for the ceremony – for their tireless support of soldiers for more than "two and a quarter centuries."
Twilight Tattoo is held during summer months on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., near the Pentagon.
The U.S. Army Drill Team, the U.S Army Fife and Drum Corps and fellow soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), along with The United States Army Band, "Pershing’s Own," participate in the patriotic ceremony.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, who also attended the event, said that having been a part of the Army’s 237-year-long story has been an amazing opportunity.
"It’s quite an honor to be part of an organization that’s 237 years old," he said. Adding, "You know we’ve got amazing men and women that serve every single day, and those who have served before –this is an amazing opportunity."
Chandler, with more than 31 years of service, said leading soldiers in combat has been the proudest moment of his career, "and to be part of something larger than myself."
Adding, "The thing I’m most proud about in America’s Army is that we are so resilient. Not too many other armies around the world, if any, can do what we have done in the past ten years. These last ten years ... are really a testament to the American soldier, their families and their resilience."
Chandler noted that over the past 30-plus years, the nation has demanded more of soldiers and the Army.
"They have asked us to be more agile, more adaptive, more lethal, and more creative in how we go about our mission of protecting the American people," he said.
Chandler said soldiers from more than 200 years ago – those soldiers who fought for America’s independence – and soldiers now, share some commonalities that get to the very core of what it means to be a soldier and to serve.
"We serve our nation. We are proud of our service. We believe that we are part of something larger than ourselves, and that we are protecting the American way of life," Chandler said. "I think the same holds true today as it did 237 years ago."
During Army week, units around the world held ceremonies – large and small – to recognize another year of sacrifice, service, time away from family and friends, dedication to country, and selflessness.
During these ceremonies and after, whether in Afghanistan, Asia, Europe, Africa, or the Americas, Chandler said it’s important for soldiers to remember those who came before, who fought, who died, and who sacrificed for America’s freedom.
"Never forget those that have gone before us – those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice," Chandler said.
Adding, "Then remember to honor their sacrifice and their family’s sacrifice in this time. Be proud, most of all, of what you do. You do something that less than one percent of the American people can do – and that’s amazing." (Based on a story from ARNEWS.)