By Becky Bechtel, Indiana, NFRW Armed Services Committee
The Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775, with the exchanges of gunfire between British military and Massachusetts militiamen at Lexington and Concord. Citizens from surrounding states joined, and the conflict began. As they struggled to defend American liberty, they needed the help of men from all thirteen colonies. As grievances increased, Congress took the next step that transformed a local battle into a war for America’s independence, by establishing the Continental Army; now known as the United States Army.
After a congressional resolution, soldiers were given an oath of enlistment on June 14, 1775. The following day, George Washington was appointed to command all of the Continental forces and began laying the foundation for the United States Army.
The Army is the largest branch of the United States military forces and has much to celebrate. Bases across the nation strive to celebrate the Army’s birthday with galas, sporting events, picnics, and other localized celebrations. Soldiers are reminded of their own personal milestones in the military. In addition, they remember their colleagues that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
At Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Arlington, Virginia, they will celebrate with the annual Army Birthday Run on June 16. Hosted by senior Army leaders from the Pentagon, service members start their birthday run journey on the Fort Myer side of the base and run through Arlington National Cemetery. As the home to the Army’s elite ceremonial units, including the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (known as The Old Guard), they will host the Army Birthday Cake Cutting. The cake cutting features the tradition of the youngest soldier and oldest soldier cutting the cake with swords.
As we raise Old Glory on Flag Day on June 14, let us also celebrate the United States Army, who has had millions of soldiers choose to serve to protect the freedom of our great nation.