Today's Soldiers honor forebearers with authentic costumes

By Mr. Kevin Stabinsky (IMCOM)June 18, 2009

Today's Soldiers honor forebearers with authentic costumes
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Roleplayers line up during the National Anthem during the Army Birthday celebration Tuesday at Hedekin Field on Fort McPherson. The 14 roleplayers displayed costumes from various eras in Army history, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812,... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
TodayAca,!a,,cs Soldiers honor forebearers with authentic costumes
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Confederate Soldier Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Brennan (left), engages Union Soldier Jimmy Manley during a Civil War battle reenactment during the Army birthday celebration festivities at Hedekin Field on Fort McPherson June 16. In modern times, Brennan... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Today's Soldiers honor forebearers with authentic costumes
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Photo by James-Denton Wyllie
Staff Sgt. Detrick Traylor, a human resource specialist for G3, U.S. Army Reserve Command, (USARC); Spc. Luke O'Neill, an operations specialist with Headquarters, Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison; Master Sgt. Mark... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

In an age in which newspapers are dominated with stories covering exploits of Soldiers during overseas contingency operations, 14 Soldiers showed those in attendance at Fort McPherson's Army birthday celebration that Soldiers weren't always the high tech, digitally patterned, camouflage-wearing Soldiers seen today.

Standing side-by-side, they provided a sharp contrast to the eye Tuesday.

Blue next to olive-drab green, gray beside white and red, and the "chocolate chip" desert camouflage opposite woodland green camo.

Though not dress-right-dress, through their representation of their forbearers these Soldiers showed that throughout the Army's 234 years, the values and sacrifices of Soldiers in all eras were the same and equally deserving of praise.

Because the sacrifices of the Soldiers of the past are as valuable as those made today, it is important that they are not forgotten, said Staff Sgt. Lavarez Blackwell, G5 mobilization NCO, First Army, Fort Gillem.

Blackwell, who portrayed a Soldier in the Cold War era, said she was very honored to be chosen to represent a Soldier from the past.

For the event, Soldiers were selected equally from all the major commands: U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Central, U.S. Army Reserve Command and First Army.

"A lot gave their lives for the freedom of others," said Blackwell. "We need to remember those who sacrificed, their struggles and all the things they went through."

Having the Soldiers dress in periodical uniforms from the past helped in jogging the memories of conflicts often forgotten, said Jonathan Rackard Jr., plans chief, U.S. Army Garrison, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

Rackard, who, prior to retirement, was the ceremonies noncommissioned officer in charge under FORSCOM, said people forget about some of the conflicts between the colonial period and the world wars. Seeing the uniforms and weaponry from those times helps history live on.

Besides taking a short amount of time to showcase the history of the Army's past, Rackard said it is important that the NCOs participating, and all NCOs Army-wide, take care to preserve their own history so future generations can recall today's sacrifices.

"It's the NCOs (who are) responsible for (maintining the) history of Army, its traditions and make(ing) sure it still lives," he said, adding such a duty is key during the Year of the NCO.

Although maintaining the past, recording the present and training the Soldiers of the future is a heavy load, Rackard said he is confident that like the NCOs of the past, who enabled today's NCOs to portray their sacrifices years after they passed on, today's NCOs won't fail in their mission to keep history alive.

"We've had great NCOs in the past, now and will in the future," Rackard said. "As long as we have great NCOs, and I know we will, history won't be forgotten."