More than 3,500 people came out to "Army Day" at the St. Louis Science Center March 17 to meet Soldiers, try on military gear and get a firsthand look at U.S. Army equipment and vehicles.

About 40 Soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood and the Missouri National Guard participated in the event and had the opportunity to highlight science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM, careers in the Army.

For many Soldiers who took part in Army Day, two words best described the event: Beneficial and inspiring.

"Army Day was beneficial to the public and inspiring for children, because they were able to see the different jobs the Army has to offer," said Sgt. 1st Class Janice Pleasant, an instructor at the Chemical Defense Training Facility at Fort Leonard Wood, who demonstrated chemical detection equipment.

Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Lillard, Fort Leonard Wood Directorate of Emergency Services Operations noncommissioned officer, agreed.

"Army Day not only allowed our Soldiers to interact with the general public but allowed the general public, that wouldn't normally have interactions with Soldiers, meet with the Soldiers," Lillard said.

Lillard, who was a part of the DES team that showcased a patrol vehicle, traffic accident and military police investigators, and a military working dog handler, said educating different age groups about the Army had a positive impact on his Soldiers.

"The interaction with the various age groups was great, from the real little ones out there who dug into it and who met the Soldiers and saw what they do, to the older ones who got to see a little more of what we do besides our warfighting function," he said. "My Soldiers were able to inspire children by allowing them to understand what we do and how we do it and that we are not just warfighters in the Army, there are different jobs that we offer."

One family motivated by the Soldiers at Army Day was Ilka Molitor's of Overland Park, Kansas.

Molitor, who was at the St. Louis Science Center as part of a spring break "adventure," said she and her three boys "absolutely loved" Army Day.

Army Day "inspired my boys to broaden their horizons on opportunities that exist if they continually work to better themselves physically and intellectually," Molitor said. "(My boys) were able to see how things they are learning and doing now will impact their futures."

In addition to military police and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear Soldiers, engineer, aviation and explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers took part in the event. Other vehicles featured during Army Day included an RG-31, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and a Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team vehicle.