FORT BELVOIR, Virginia -- The Chief Information Officer/G-6 team -- civilian, military, and contractors -- gathered together to reaffirm the commitment to serve and signify a collective understanding of the true nature of the oath during the inaugural "Why We Serve" ceremony on May 23, 2018.

"The purpose of the ceremony is to pause and reflect upon who we are and what we stand for as Army professionals. It's to remind those who serve of when they first spoke those 72 words of the oath of office," declared Lt. Gen. Bruce T. Crawford, Army CIO/G-6.

Unveiling his four R's for this day of introspection, Crawford stated the day is about reaffirming, remembering, rededicating, and renewing the commitment to service as Army professionals and to each other.

In reaffirming the collective commitment to the Army profession, Crawford said, "I believe it's vitally important we continue to stand firmly united in being One Army. Let us commit to the Soldier and the civilian to our left and to our right that the bond that binds the Army together will always remain unbreakable."

He added, "Let us remember the foundation that forges our oath to support and defend, it's not to a person or even for our own fame, glory, or recognition. It is to the Constitution of the United States to enable a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

"But let us also remember the oath to support and defend is a mandate to serve without prejudice, and it's a mandate to serve without preconditions. Our service is more meaningful when every background and unique diversity is included in our mission."

Crawford praised his CIO/G-6 teammates for their hard work and encouraged them to continue to sow the seeds of trust, discipline, collaboration, and communication and to rededicate their individual contributions in pursuit of collective accomplishment.

"There are many challenges ahead of us, but the formula for success will be in each of our combined efforts to answer the call each day to give our very best."

Underscoring his message of reaffirming the collective profession, remembering the true nature of the oath, and rededicating individual contributions, Lt. Gen. Crawford described "renewing our promise to encourage and help each other. While individual contributions will undoubtedly add up -- it is in how we support and encourage each other that those contributions will multiply."

Adding to the impact of the "Why We Serve" ceremony, keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the Army Medical Command, and guest speaker wounded warrior Staff Sgt. (Retired) Earl Granville, offered their perspectives on what it means to serve.

West recalled the many similarities between the medical and the signal communities, noting that Maj. Albert Myer, the Army's first Signal officer, was also a physician and an assistant surgeon in the Army.

Inspired by living the Army Ethic both on and off duty as a trusted Army professional, West echoed the emphasis of service through the lens of the Army values. "The Army values are the basic blocks of our character, competence, and commitment that are a part of our shared identity."

She added, "Honor is the value that puts them all together. It's a matter of carrying out and living the values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, integrity, and personal courage. If you can incorporate all of these, you're going to have honorable service."

A living example of why we serve can be found in Granville from the Pennsylvania National Guard, who was wounded in 2008 while on patrol in Afghanistan. He shared his story of resilience and empowerment in the face of overwhelming obstacles. His story served as a poignant reminder of what is possible when committed to serving others.

After the amputation of his left leg, Granville's continued his service by helping other wounded Veterans find their passion and inner strength. "There may be a day where you will have to take your uniform off or retire, but that doesn't mean you have to stop serving. You must continue to have a purpose, find your passion, and be part of something bigger than yourself. Continuing to serve others provides all three. We must continue to serve no matter what," said Granville.

The ceremony included videos from the CIO/G-6 team explaining why they serve and CIO/G-6 Soldiers and civilians renewing their oath of office - which is especially meaningful as the Nation prepared to observe Memorial Day to remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. These oaths emphasized the worthy cause of supporting and defending our Nation - a cause that is passed on from generation to generation.

As the ceremony came to a close, Crawford channeled the words of the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, resolving to never forget why we serve:

"In America, we will have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In this country, in these United States, under these colors of red, white and blue, all Americans are created free and equal. We will rise or fall based on our merit, and we will be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. That is the core organizing principle of the United States of America, and that is why we fight."

The CIO/G-6 "Why We Serve" ceremony is a powerful refrain that will continue to be highlighted throughout the year.