The area near Times Square was full of cheer and very festive as service members from the U.S. Army convened there Monday to celebrate the U.S. Army’s 246th birthday in New York City. The Commandant of Cadets, Brig. Gen. Mark Quander, represented West Point at the event.
Prior to Quander’s arrival at the celebration, he appeared on Good Morning America and discussed the significance of the Army’s birthday and what the day means to those who serve.
Quander thanked the audience during the celebration for participating and roused everyone with celebratory energy as he highlighted how important it was to commemorate the day as the city opens back up again from the pandemic.
“I’d like to thank this great city for your tremendous support and hospitality over the years to both the institution as a whole and to the 4,000 or so young men and women of the Corps of Cadets, training to be the Army’s next generation of leaders of character,” Quander said. “From the early days of our nation, in places like Harlem Heights and Brooklyn … to more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan … whether threats foreign or domestic … disasters both natural or man-made … and yes, even a public health crisis, America’s Army … and the American Soldier was there, supporting and defending our nation with honor and courage. No matter what the circumstances and the times demanded of them, the American Soldier stood ready to meet any challenge ... answering the call of duty every time to support and defend this nation and the American people … bearing true faith and allegiance to the Constitution … the United States Army … their units and their fellow team members.”
The Continental Congress founded the U.S. Army on June 14, 1775, when it authorized expert riflemen to enlist and serve the united colonies for one year.
The Army continued the legacy set by the country’s forefathers when Quander stood before 46 new Soldiers, raised his right hand, administered the oath of enlistment, and welcomed them into the U.S. Army.
“To these new enlistees, congratulations. By raising your right hand and reciting the oath, you have chosen a path of selfless and honorable service to our country, following in the footsteps of generations who have gone before us, and worn the uniform of the American Soldier,” Quander said. “You will come to embody the Army core values of loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and personal courage. A few weeks ago, during West Point’s 2021 graduation, Our Secretary of Defense, who is a retired Army four-star general himself, told our graduates that you are graduating in extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary circumstances are what the United States Army does.”
The event featured a musical performance by featured vocalist from the U.S. Army Field Band, Staff Sgt. Kyra Dorn. Afterward, members of the U.S. Army’s drill team showcased complex and precision-based routines with bayonet-tipped 1903 Springfield rifles underscoring that they are the ‘ambassadors for today’s Army, yesterday’s heroes and tomorrow’s Soldiers.
Soon after, Quander, along with the oldest and youngest Soldiers in the formation, upheld the Army tradition of cutting the ceremonial cake during the birthday celebration, thus tying the generations together.
Following the festivities at Times Square, Quander, along with the command sergeant major for the Corps of Cadets, Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Killingsworth, and an Army contingent visited the New York Stock Exchange to continue the birthday celebration by ringing the closing bell of the NYSE.
“Think of those young men and women that enlisted into the Army today with the knowledge that their families supported their decision. That decision is based on trust. Trust in an organization that’s going to take care of them,” Killingsworth said. “And so, the things that we did today is how we shake hands with the nation. Whether it’s ringing the bell at the NYSE or whether we’re just talking to the people in Times Square, or here at the (New York) Mets game, it’s shaking hands with the nation. That’s the reason you’ll see me a lot of times passing by folks and I’ll fist bump a kid because that’s literally shaking hands with the nation and saying, ‘hey, you can trust us, not only to defend the nation and answer the nation’s call, but also trust us with your sons and daughters.’”