NEW YORK CITY (Army News Service, June 17, 2013) -- New York City officials honored the U.S. Army as it celebrated its 238th birthday in Times Square by proclaiming June 14, 2013 as "New York City United States Army Day."

"We are honored and humbled to have New York City embrace the Army here today," said Gen. John Campbell, vice chief of staff of the Army. "New York City has embraced all of our Soldiers and our veterans and that's what it's really about. The Army is about people and for the last 238 years, the strength of our nation has been our Army and that's our people."

On June 14, 1775, 10 companies of riflemen answered the call for a continental Army to fight for the independence of the 13 colonies. That is recognized as the beginning of the United States Army.

"Since that start, Soldiers have served our country and defended its freedom and values with courage and patriotism, showing what it means to truly be Army Strong," said Ronald Cohen, senior advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Campbell said as the military transitions out of Afghanistan, the nation has a debt to service members to ensure they are taken care of when they return, and as they transition to civilian life.

"Time and time again Army members have proven themselves to be the strength of the future through their honor and courage," Cohen said. "And though we can never fully express our gratitude for all they have given to secure a better world, our administration continues to work hard to support the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who are veterans and active-duty personnel."

For 238 years, young men and women have been raising their right hand and saying "sign me up, send me, and put me in harm's way," Campbell said.

At the event in New York, thirty-one young men and women did just that. There, they raised their right hands and swore the oath of enlistment during the ceremony to begin the journey to become Soldiers.

"They are part of less than one half of one percent of our nation that joins our military and agrees to protect our nation," Campbell said. "They know they are joining an organization that is bigger than themselves. It's about service to our country."

For future Soldier Sara Jaramillo, joining the Army was something she always wanted to do.

"I think it's something amazing that I can do for my country," she said. "It was amazing experience being up here with my future battle buddies."

The celebration continued with performances by the U.S. Military Academy Band, the Army Drill Team, the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps and the West Point "Hellcats."

"Today's celebration is a fitting tribute to the men and women of the United States Army and the mayor and I encourage all New Yorkers to thank our service members, veterans and families for making our nation and city safer and stronger than ever," Cohen said.