FORT CARSON, Colo.---With the thunderous boom of a cannon and the raising of colors, approximately 8,500 Soldiers of Fort Carson and the 4th Infantry Division rendered honors to the nation June 14 beginning festivities for Iron Horse Week and creating precedence for a new Mountain Post tradition.

Iron Horse Week kicked off on the Army's 235th Birthday with cadence and unit esprit de corps during a four-mile installation run beginning at Founder's Field and ending at Iron Horse Park.

Iron Horse Week, a six-day event for Soldiers, Families and friends of the Fort Carson and Front Range communities, offers a combination of sportsmanship, camaraderie and memorial in honor of Mountain Post Soldiers and civilians, said Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of the 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson.

The special week of celebration, held June 14-19, is a time to build the camaraderie that the Army cherishes, Perkins said.

"A lot of effort has been put in by the leadership and community here at Fort Carson, so we can celebrate this camaraderie and partnership as an Army and as a community," said Perkins.

Perkins said Iron Horse Week provided Soldiers and units good natured competition and an opportunity to take a break from training and the day-to-day activities and routines of work, while enjoying Family and friends.

"Relaxing is the intent for this week, not only for the Soldiers but for the Family members as well," said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson senior enlisted leader.

"Fort Carson Soldiers have worked very hard, and anytime we get to come together and not do the daily grind of training - but still building teamwork - it is a great week," added Dailey.

Highlights of Iron Horse Week include freefall demonstrations from the U.S. Air Force Academy Freefall Team; an aerial demonstration of AH-64 Apache helicopters; a Commander's Chariot Race; a Modern Army Combatives tournament; demonstrations by Fort Carson's Mounted Color Guard; and an awards ceremony hosted by Perkins.

Open to the public, the Fort Carson Community Open House, Friday, will offer a variety of Family-oriented activities, static displays and special demonstrations.

Also Friday, country music singer Mark Wills will perform a free concert for the general public held 5 p.m. at Iron Horse Park as part of the Fort Carson Community Open House.

Saturday at 10 a.m., the Mountain Post community will unveil a World Trade Center Memorial within the memorial grove area near Fort Carson's Main Gate. The memorial will honor and commemorate the lives of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the attack on the World Trade Center during the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. A twisted and charred steel I-beam, once an integral part of one of the towers, will be placed permanently at the site.

After the memorial, Perkins will swear in approximately 120 future Soldiers during a New Recruit Ceremony at Iron Horse Park scheduled for 11:30 a.m.

The New Recruit Ceremony is one of the many highlights of Iron Horse Week and is being held at Fort Carson to inform the public and raise awareness of the recruiting opportunities within the Colorado Springs community.

The Army Ball, celebrating the Army's 235th birthday will also take place Saturday evening marking the culmination of Iron Horse Week.