By Parker RomeJune 4, 2009
FORT RILEY, Kan. - Two hundred and thirty four years of the U.S. Army and 92 years of the 1st Infantry Division will be celebrated in a joint ceremony.
The U.S. Army began on June 14, 1775, and the 1st Inf. Div. was started June 8, 1917. A birthday celebration for both will take place at 9 a.m. June 11 in front of Building 580.
"It's important to celebrate because of our heritage," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Booth, who is the Division Ceremony noncommissioned officer. "Everything the United States Army has accomplished since it started will be celebrated."
The "Big Red One" is the oldest division in the U.S. Army and has been in continuous service since its organization.
"The 1st Inf. Div. probably has the proudest history of everyone in the U.S. Army because of everything we've done," Booth said.
The ceremony will honor Soldiers from throughout the expansive 234-year history.
"We're going to have the colors out on the field," Booth said. "We're going to have period Soldiers representing each war up to modern days."
Soldiers dressed in period uniforms and riding transportation from each period will position themselves around the Big Red One patch on the sidewalk in front of Building 580. While this is happening, a narrator will tell the audience about the history of each period represented.
Two cakes will be cut, one for the Army and one for the 1st Inf. Div. Commanding General Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Champagne and the two youngest Soldiers from the 1st Replacement Company will cut the cakes.
"The youngest Soldiers represent a new beginning," Booth said. "The youngest Soldier coming forth representing Soldiers just coming into the military."
After the cake cutting, a reception will take place at Victory Park giving everyone a chance to get a piece of cake and refreshments.
Mayors from the Central Flint Hills Region and several distinguished guests will be invited, as well as the general population, Booth said.
"It'll be something to see," Booth said.