Celebrations for the centennial began on Thursday, Sept. 8, with volunteers clearing overgrowth and planting flowers at the Sweet Heart Memorial, the oldest monument on post which was constructed to symbolize the importance of romance, love, and marriage for military couples who are burdened with separation due to a Soldier being deployed in a time of war.
Friday kicked off with a formation fun run before a day of family fun activities and demonstrations from local civil authorities.
"The Army is all about traditions and Fort Devens has a long tradition of supporting the Army's mission and the troops so it's important for us to celebrate that," said Lt. Col. Efrem Z. Slaughter, garrison commander.
Built in 1917, Fort Devens, then known as Camp Devens, was constructed to help support the demand for training and mobilization of troops to Europe for the first World War.
At the start of the Second World War, Devens became a reception center for the men from around New England who were selected by the draft to serve their country in both the European and Pacific theaters. The garrison was used to train nurses, chaplains, cooks, infantry troops from the 1st, 32nd, and 45th Infantry Divisions, as well as the Fourth Women's Army Corps.
"The Army's number one priority is readiness," said Slaughter. "For us, as an installation, that's making sure that we dedicate all the resources we can to ensure that all the Soldiers training here achieve that readiness."
Fort Devens served as a reception center again at the start of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and saw more than 3,000 troops deploy during the Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield in the early 1990's.
Since then, the fort has continued to support the Army's mission and has been a training area for Reserve and National Guard Soldiers as well as several State and Federal agencies.
"Moving forward, we plan to continue to support the troops in the New England area and beyond, and to increase the capabilities here for the Army Reserve and the other government agencies that train here," said Slaughter.
For more information regarding the history of Fort Devens, visit the Fort Devens Museum and its website at www.fortdevensmuseum.org.