FORT LEWIS, Wash. - Soldiers and their families commemorated the 233rd anniversary of the Army's beginnings with a skating party at the Summit Arena roller skating rink June 13.

The Army's actual birthday was June 14, 1775.

Child and Youth Services organized the child-oriented event, which was attended by more than 200 people.

As part of the Army Family Covenant, The Department of the Army sought to include the children of military families in this year's commemorations of the Army's birth. The effort was intended to teach young family members the importance of the Army's founding to our nation and show the special role Soldiers play, said Shannon Ruckman, one of the CYS organizers of the event.

CYS wanted to educate children on the history of the Army, she said.

Resident disk jockey Roy E. Smith began the celebration with a modern mix of today's top 40, as patrons skated on the arena's roller-disco.

Ruckman read the book "Happy 233rd Birthday U.S. Army!" to the children in attendance. Daycare facilities on post also conducted a synchronized reading of the book at 2 p.m., said Ruckman, as part of an Armywide effort to introduce the book to child-ren. In all, 60,000 free copies of the book were distributed to Army children last week.
The children at the rink also got cake, free stickers, patriotic party favors and fake tattoos.

"It was cute for the kids," said Anne Marie Agers, wife of Sgt. Major Daniel Agers.

"I really liked skating," said youngster Amaya Evans, daughter of Sgt. 1st Class Sebastian Evans and Kelly Evans.

Smith played "Rockin' in the Free World" and "Sweet Home Alabama," among other crowd favorites, later that evening in honor of the occasion.

The celebration closed with a game of hokie-pokie and red-light/green-light.

It was a wholesome evening out for families, Ruckman said.

Pfc. Joshua Sizemore is assigned to the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment