Celebrating the Army Birthday
The U.S. Army marks its 238th birthday June 14, commemorating the day in 1775 when America’s Founding Fathers established the Continental Army in revolt against the British.
For soldiers and their families stationed around the world, the Army birthday is a time to celebrate, reflect and give thanks. Hundreds of local tributes typically take place as soldiers mark the day in their own unique ways, from the whimsical and adventurous to the silent and solemn. Here are a few examples from last year:
Having a Ball: From Fort Riley, Kan., to Forward Operating Base Azizullah in Afghanistan, to Camp Zama, Japan, Army posts worldwide held dances, concerts, dinners and cake-cutting ceremonies to mark the service anniversary. According to tradition, the Army birthday cake is cut with a ceremonial sword, an honor shared by the youngest and oldest soldiers in attendance.
Getting up Early: In Louisville, Ky., the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team celebrated by taking some special guests on tandem skydives from 13,000 feet. The rest of the stateside Army Airborne team, based at Fort Bragg, N.C., kept its feet on the ground and led thousands of soldiers on a four-mile morning run.
Savoring the Taste of Freedom: In Washington, D.C., Army officials delighted the crowd by unveiling a replica Abrams tank constructed from 5,000 camo-iced cupcakes. The 2,500-pound dessert even fired a round of ammunition — another cupcake, of course.
The West Point, N.Y., community celebrated with a good, old-fashioned outdoor picnic and carnival, which included a reading of the book “Happy Birthday U.S. Army” to schoolchildren.
Celebrating America: Soldiers from the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command enjoyed another all-American tradition, participating in a special pregame birthday ceremony at Busch Stadium before a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.
Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, capped off a visit to New York City by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Honoring the Fallen: In appreciation of soldiers’ profound sacrifices through the years, Army officials laid a memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
At Chièvres Air Base in Belgium, soldiers had the immediate needs of the wounded in mind — they hosted a blood drive.
Take inspiration from their ideas as you celebrate with them this year.
Maj. Gen. William D. Razz Waff, commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., fires a ceremonial canon following the opening of the new “Soldier Life” exhibit at Philadelphia’s Fort Mifflin June 15. Fort Mifflin was rebuilt in the 1790s after being destroyed by the British in the Revolutionary War, and remained an active Army installation until its decommissioning in 1962.