Father, son Reserve Soldiers cut Army Birthday Cake
June 17, 2013
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (June 14, 2013) --- It was a family affair when the Elizabethtown Army Recruiting Center marked the Army's 238th Birthday Friday.
The traditional birthday cake-cutting chores were handled by a father-and-son tandem of Army Reserve Soldiers while participants also heard one of Army Recruiting Command's top leaders talk about the importance of continued civilian support of their military.
Armed with a traditional cavalry saber, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Grimando and his son, Spc. Dustin Grimando, cut a huge six-sheet layer cut decorated in the colors of the American flag. The elder Grimando is an Army Reserve recruiter serving in Bowling Green, Ky., while his son is an Army Reserve Soldier and student at Western Kentucky University.
"It was an honor," said the 20-year-old who joined the Army Reserve as an intelligence analyst in 2011 while the family lived in Las Vegas. "To do something like that was very special."
The elder Grimando admitted to being a bit nervous when approached to cut the cake. Despite his apprehensions, he said he was proud to tackle the chore with his son standing alongside him.
"I always get nervous standing up in front of a group of people," the elder Grimando said. "I can talk to people all day long, but I was almost choked up a bit. It was my son, and I'm proud of him."
The pair balanced the sword and carefully made a cut down the middle of the three-flavored cake, donated by the local Sam's Club store and served up by area recruiters.
"It was an honor to be chosen, especially with my son there, to cut the cake in honor of the Army's Birthday," the elder Grimando said. "It will be a good memory for us to have since he's at the beginning of his Army career, and I'm coming up to the close of mine."
Keynote speaker for the event was Col. George H. Sarabia, USAREC G5. He recalled the Army's early days when it was founded in 1775.
"The Army is older than the nation itself," Sarabia said. "Today, the Army is still standing up and fighting for our rights."
In addition to another birthday, the Army, along with all the military branches, is marking the 40th Anniversary of the All-Volunteer Force. This fact was not lost on Sarabia while he was making his remarks.
Sarabia said that first Army raised in 1775 had many common characteristics of our own modern Army. He said today's force continues its "long legacy of selfless service" that began with the Continental Army.
"Those people serving were all volunteers," Sarabia said. "All the people serving today are volunteers. The Army is all about service. It's about a cause larger than yourself."
Sarabia addressed many of his remarks to a group nearly 30 Future Soldiers who stood in formation on his left. He also met with the newly enlisted Soldiers after his remarks.
"The Army provides many great opportunities," Sarabia said reflecting on his own career. "The Army asks a lot, but it gives back a lot, too."
Among those soon-to-be-Soldiers were schoolmates Austin Booth and Clark Rueda. Both grew up in Greensburg, Ky., and attended Green County High School together. Both recently enlisted into the Army. Rueta leaves for basic combat training in September while Booth heads back for his senior year and will ship off to basic training in June 2014.
The two friends will be going separate ways in the Army. Rueta will be a combat engineer while Booth will repair Black Hawk helicopters. However, both said they were motivated to enlist by a sense of duty. They were also inspired by a shared family member who was killed in Afghanistan.
"To know the Army has been around this long and people are still supporting it gives you a sense of pride," Rueta said.
"I'm just looking forward to doing what I can to keep [the Army tradition] going," Booth added.
The event also featured an array of activities. There were blow-up play stations, a rock climbing wall, cornhole boards music and refreshments. Among the items on display was a customized motorcycle. Its owner, retired 1st Sgt. Rogers Sims, said he wanted to be part of the festivities, too.
"I've always been proud of my service," Sims said. "This is just one way for me to show it."