<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> -- Hundreds of Fort Stewart youths spend their weekdays learning their ABCs, 123s, and that "The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round"" song at installation childcare facilities while their military parents are away defending our nation's freedom. Saluting the sacrifices these toddlers and pre-kindergartners make every day and in celebrating the Month of the Military Child, Fort Stewart's Child and Youth School Services hosted Wheels Day, April 22 - a day where the wheels on the bus and several other kid-favorite vehicles rolled into the Child Development Center's parking lot for display.

"Children love transportation; they love wheels," said Leah Cabey, Stewart CDC facility director. "They play with trucks and cars in their classrooms. Why not magnify those (vehicles) here'"

CYSS-registered youth ages 1 through 5 explored a tractor, forklift, fire truck, police car and school bus and hopped aboard a miniature train, which chugged around the CDC parking lot. The children even got a chance to play Army as 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers with the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team and 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st HBCT, who displayed a Humvee, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck and Field Litter Ambulance.

Providing additional entertainment, the 3rd ID Band echoed their appreciation through the festive sounds of trumpets, tubas, clarinets and drums while children clapped, stomped, and danced to the beat.

"We celebrate our military children every day, but this is the one time of the year where we splurge," Cabey said. "These children and their parents sacrifice so much, and for that we want to say, 'thank you.'"

The Department of Defense designated April as the Month of the Military Child in 1986 with the intent of showing the important role military children play in the Armed Forces community. Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield jump-started the month with a parade focusing on this year's theme, "Bring communities together for children - children bring communities together." The installation hosted several events for youth throughout the month, to include the annual Easter Egg Hunt, Garden Day, Hat and Sunglasses Day and Wheels Day. The activities concluded with a carnival and picnic at Stewart's Child Development Center, April 29.

Page last updated Thu April 30th, 2009 at 16:17