• Col. James Saenz, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr commander, reads the book "Happy Birthday, U.S. Army!" to a group of children at the Netzaberg Elementary School on the Army's birthday, June 14.

    Reading the Army's story

    Col. James Saenz, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr commander, reads the book "Happy Birthday, U.S. Army!" to a group of children at the Netzaberg Elementary School on the Army's birthday, June 14.

  • In a rare moment of complete quiet, a group of 6-year-olds listens during the Army birthday storytime.

    Focused attention

    In a rare moment of complete quiet, a group of 6-year-olds listens during the Army birthday storytime.

  • A group of more than 175 children sit attentively as  Col. James Saenz, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr commander, reads the book "Happy Birthday, U.S. Army!" during a birthday celebration, June 14.

    Captive audience

    A group of more than 175 children sit attentively as Col. James Saenz, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr commander, reads the book "Happy Birthday, U.S. Army!" during a birthday celebration, June 14.

  • U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr community children cheer after singing "Happy Birthday" to the Army, which turned 237 years old on June 14.

    Smiles all around

    U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr community children cheer after singing "Happy Birthday" to the Army, which turned 237 years old on June 14.

ESCHENBACH, Germany -- "Whose birthday is it today?" asked Anita Payne-Landgraf, chief of the Child, Youth and School Services, to more than 175 children from the Grafenwoehr community Child Development Centers and School Age Centers here, June 14.

"My dad's!" yelled Indiana Whitfield.

Lucky for Whitfield's father, he shares his special day with the U.S. Army, and the Army celebrates in style.

Although, according to Whitfield, so does his father.

"It's 'cause he's in the Army," said the 6-year-old.

While adult celebrations peppered the U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr this afternoon, community youth had a celebration of their own with a time-honored tradition and one very special guest.

Col. James Saenz, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr commander, dropped by the Netzaberg Youth Center to read the children a book appropriately titled "Happy Birthday, U.S. Army!"

Saenz read of a young boy whose father is a Soldier.

"He says that makes me special because I have two families. Our family and the Army family," read Saenz.

The story spoke of the Army's timeless traditions and celebrations, and engaged the children by talking about people in the community, familiar at every Army base worldwide, from police officers to caretakers at the Child Development Center.

Without missing a beat, the story ended, "Happy Birthday" was sung and cupcakes were served.

After polishing off the remains of his sugary treat, 6-year-old Christopher Pedrick wiped his face clean, missing the dollop of blue icing that had escaped to his brow.

Page last updated Thu June 14th, 2012 at 00:00