By Ms. Jacqueline Leeker (IMCOM)June 16, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 16, 2010) -- House and Senate Army Caucus leaders joined Army leadership on Capitol Hill Tuesday night in celebrating the Army's 235th Birthday.
"At our core, our history is the story of our people," said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. "The story of ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things for this country."
He said the stories of more than 30 million men and women who have worn the U.S. Army uniform in the last 235 years convey "personal courage, selfless service, and sacrifice."
Secretary of the Army John McHugh said he deeply appreciates and emphasizes the integral role of the relationship between the Army, Senate and House throughout their history.
Continental Congress established the Army on June 14, 1775, when colonial militia were battling the British for freedom in what became known as the American Revolution.
"Soldiers were fighting, defending and struggling for our freedom even before there was an America. Every day of those 235 years the American Soldier has continued to stand watch ensuring our liberties, ensuring our freedoms, wherever the challenge, whenever the call," said McHugh.
McHugh asked the audience to reflect on what the world would be like without the U.S. Army.
"Just think if there had been no America, no Army, think of all the battles that would have been lost. The dictators and tyrants who would have prevailed and prospered. Because an American Army exists in places where folks still live under the cloud of depression of tyranny, there is hope. Hope that maybe someday Soldiers of the U.S. Army will show up at their shores to provide them the opportunity of freedom they see us, and so many others enjoying," said McHugh.
Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii complimented the Army on never failing to answer the call.
"The Army has answered all the calls that have made a difference and continue to do that. I'm here to add my appreciation and gratitude to our Soldiers, civilians and Army families for their continued service and sacrifice in defense of this great country. Happy Birthday Army!" said Akaka.
Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma told his own story of being a product of the draft.
"I never believed the idea that an all-volunteer Army would give us the quality of Soldier it does. I'm so impressed. These Soldiers are of the highest quality. It seems there is a direct relationship between the most difficult assignments, and the commitment these young men and women have," said Inhofe.
Rep. John Carter of Texas commented that every generation of the U.S. Army is the best.
"I see the same caliber of Soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as in WWII. History will prove it. This is an Army that gives it all for one single purpose, to bring liberty and freedom to the world as it has done for 235 years. Happy Birthday U.S. Army!" said Carter.
Rep. Chet Edwards expressed his gratitude to the Army for making the world a better place.
"Thank you, as a father of two young sons, for what you and your fellow comrades have done in service to make this world a better place for my boys and for all Americans. God bless you, and God Bless the unsung heroes of our nations defenses our Army Families, Our Army spouses, our Army children. Whether you're wearing the uniform or not, you are serving and have served this great land of ours. We are the land of the free because we are still the home of the brave. Happy Birthday Army!" said Edwards.
Following remarks, the U.S. Army Drill Team performed to oohs and ahhs from Army Caucus leadership and their staff.
The Happy Birthday Army song filled the halls of Capitol Hill as Casey, McHugh, Akaka, Inhofe, Edwards, Carter, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston cut the birthday cake.
The room raised their glasses to toast the Soldiers of U.S. Army, and to toast their families.
The formal ceremony concluded with the Army Song.