ARLINGTON, Va. -- On June 14, 1775, our Nation's leaders established the Continental Army. The hodge-podge of farmers, shopkeepers, tradesmen and scholars of America's Continental Army faced a well-trained, well-equipped professional Army.

The odds were not in our favor. Our Soldiers made up for what they lacked with enthusiastic patriotism and fervent dedication to the ideals of freedom.

This week, as we celebrate our Army birthday, we also celebrate the generations of Soldiers who followed in the footsteps of those colonists who left their homes and embraced our Nation's call to duty. For 237 years, our Soldiers and their Families have been the strength of our great Nation in peace and at war.

The Army is made up of more than the 1.1 million men and women in uniform and 278,000 Army Civilians committed to serving the Nation. Our Soldiers and their Families are supported on installations and in forward deployed areas by civilians, equipped by civilians and transported by civilians.

We have the best equipped, best trained and best led Army in history, and it is because of the professional Soldiers and Civilians who serve in the Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard who still carry the same patriotism and devotion of the Soldiers of the Continental Army.

Since September 11, 2001, we've been an Army at war - the longest in our country's history -- but it's been our wives and husbands, our children, our mothers and fathers who have shouldered this burden for America. Our Army Families -- 1.4 million strong -- serve side-by-side with our Soldiers, enduring their hardships and providing the unconditional love and support that strengthen the spirit of our Army.

Like the colonists who served in the Continental Army, it is the inspired leadership of our professional all-volunteer Army that makes our Army great. During Army birthday week we thank every Soldier, Civilian and Family member in our ranks, past and present, for their dedication to duty and selfless service. Thank you and Happy 237th Birthday to the United States Army!

ARMY STRONG!

Page last updated Wed June 13th, 2012 at 00:00