Concert, streamer ceremony commemorate Army birthday
June 28, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 28, 2012) -- With patriotism in the air the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band took to Howze Field to honor the Army and provide a relaxing evening for the people who had laid out their picnic blankets and lawn chairs at the Music Under the Alabama Stars concert.
The concert series returned to Howze Field June 22 with a cake cutting and special streamer ceremony to commemorate the Army's 237th birthday.
"Today we celebrate the continued honor, loyalty and bravery of our Soldiers in this noble calling," said CW4 Jesse Pascua, 98th Army Band commander. "This 237th Army birthday and streamer ceremony commemorates America's Army, Soldiers, Families and civilians who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong."
Before the streamer ceremony started, a cake cutting was done with Maj. Gen. Anthony G. Crutchfield, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, Command Sgt. Maj. James H. Thomson Jr., Aviation Branch command sergeant major, and two Soldiers chosen to represent the youngest and oldest Soldiers.
As the ceremony got under way, an explanation was given of the history and birth of the U.S. Army and the streamer ceremony, and why the streamers are significant to the Army's flag.
"When the 13 original colonies began their fight for freedom at Lexington, they had neither an established Army or national flag," explained the narrator for the ceremony, adding that the fighting force for the nation was largely made of militia units.
The units of this period had local banners that reflected, in many cases, the sentiment of the time including mottos such as hope, liberty and don't tread on me, and symbolic representations such as beavers, pine trees and anchors, she said.
The U.S. Army was formed June 14, 1775, and the Army's flag was dedicated and unfurled for the first time during the Army's 181st birthday in 1956 by then Vice President Richard Nixon at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, said the narrator.
"The 183 streamers attached to the Army flag represents campaigns fought by Soldiers throughout our nation's history," she explained. "The colors of the streamers are derived from campaign ribbons authorized for service during that action or war."
The streamer ceremony began as a local reenactment group attached all 183 streamers to the Army flag while dressed in uniforms appropriate to the time of the conflict that the streamers represent, while the 98th Army Band played music to correspond to the time period to add an authentic feel to the ceremony.
"I really enjoyed the performance and the ceremony," said Rebecca Prosceno, Army spouse. "It's important to have a ceremony like this because it's the history of everything the Army stands for. It shows their evolution from what they were to what they are today."
The streamers that were attached to the flag ranged from those that represented conflicts in the Revolutionary War, to the more current conflicts such as Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As the ceremony came to a close, people in attendance were treated to the music of the 98th Army Band's rock band, Crossfire.
"I really like the music that [Crossfire] plays," said Davina Tindoll, civilian who attended the concert. "I really like the different genres in music when they perform. Some of it reminds me of high school even though that wasn't very long ago for me."
The ceremony was also a time for the 98th Army Band to recognize Crutchfield as one of their biggest supporters, said Pascua, and presented him with framed 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band logo that was signed by each member of the band.
"Sir, we wanted to say thank you," said the band commander. "When you came [to Fort Rucker], you actually asked for us by name and we thank you for all your support."
For more information on the 98th Army Band or MUTAS, visit the 98th "Silver Wings" Band Facebook page.