Anniston celebrates Army's birthday
June 24, 2009
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala.-The depot celebrated 234 years of the U.S. Army on June 11 with a cake-cutting at CafAfA East in the Nichols Industrial Complex here.
The commemoration began with the singing of the National Anthem, followed by prayer and then brief messages from tenant commanders-Lt. Col. Andrew Herbst, Anniston Chemical Activity, Lt. Col. Craig King, Defense Distribution Depot-Anniston, and Lt. Col. Duncan MacMullen, Anniston Defense Munitions Center.
Depot employee Levi Lyles, whose twin sons are Soldiers who both recently returned from Iraq, provided the invocation. The celebration wouldn't have been complete, either, without the singing of the Army Song. Cynthia Woodard from the Intelligence and Security Management Office lead the group in unison.
Because of the immensity of the installation, cakes were also made available in other places across depot. Additionally, staff members at the Child Development Center hosted a cookout and book-reading for the children and their parents on June 18.
Within walking distance of most maintenance shops, CafAfA East played host to many mechanics, welders and machinists observing the anniversary of an organization that was created before this nation was even here.
"They needed an army to secure this nation, this land," said Jim Webb, director of community and family activities.
The Army has special meaning for Jackie Johnson, a fabric worker here whose father was a World War II veteran. "It means a lot to me," she said. "I just want to support the Army any way I can." Her husband, who passed away in 1998, served in the Vietnam War and retired from the depot as a machinist and was deployed to Vietnam with the Army.
Herbst described the experiences of a Soldier in combat: dust, heat, smoke, unfamiliar ground. He said, in battle, what's most important to a Solider is other Soldiers. "It's the battle buddies to his right and left," he said.
"They're a band of brothers and you are their extended family," Herbst told the crowd of Army civilians.
For King, the Army's birthday-June 14-is important because of its beginnings. "When it was created, they determined this would be a volunteer Army, not fighting for a few but for everyone," he said.
The majority of the Army on depot is not the uniformed forces, noted MacMullen. "It's the civilian workforce that provides great strength to the tip of the spear," he said.
That "spear" is fighting for people all over the globe, and King said it's all done with the "principles of our founding fathers and for the freedom of all men."
"We're the greatest Army that's ever graced the face of this earth," said MacMullen.