By Andrew Sharbel, Belvoir EagleJune 21, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Fort Belvoir joined Army installations across the world Monday in celebrating the birth of the U.S. Army and the founding of the American flag on the steps of the installation headquarters building.
Community members and employees of the installation attended as the U.S. Army celebrated its 235th year of existence and the 233rd birthday of the American flag.
Belvoir's Director of Public Affairs, Don Carr, opened the ceremony by welcoming everyone. Then, the event included posting of the colors by Fort Belvoir's Headquarters Battalion Color Guard and the national anthem. Chaplain (Col.) Philip Hill then gave the invocation.
Installation Historian Gus Person then presented a color ceremony, along with living historical color guards, highlighting several eras of the American flag.
Deputy to the Installation Commander Stephen Brooks then read the Army Birthday Proclamation by the commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, and led the crowd in the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.
1st Sgt. Kevin Harkey, of Belvoir's Warrior in Transition unit, followed Brooks with reciting "Old Glory."
Next, Installation Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Berhane spoke about the occasion's significance.
"Both the history of our Army and the history of our flag are intertwined. They both symbolize the very best of our country, our people and the freedom we enjoy as a nation," Berhane said. "All Soldiers are very proud of our Army and our national flag. We cherish the flag and the values it represents.
"We wear the American flag on the right sleeve of our duty uniforms and it accompanies us everywhere we go," Berhane said.
Installation Commander Col. Jerry Blixt followed Berhane with his own comments and opened his speech by thanking the Belvoir team for all the preparation involved in planning the event.
"We are fortunate to stand here where George Washington and Lord William Fairfax actually did stand and to continue Belvoir's transformation at the forefront of our nation's Army," Blixt said. "For all of you who have served or continue to serve, I want to thank you for your service to our nation and our Army and that selfless service is an American tradition.
"Today, as we celebrate our Army's 235th year, let us remember those who have served, who are serving and their families and loved ones, who continue their daily lives, while their Soldiers are serving," Blixt said.
After Blixt's comments, Staff Sgt. Robert Alderman and Sgt. Julian Snellings read the 2nd Continental Congress Resolution establishing the Army in 1775. Alderman and Snellings were past Belvoir NCO and Soldier of the Quarter.
The ceremony closed with the playing of "It's a Grand Old Flag" and "The Army Song."
As the final chords of the Army Song faded, four UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters flew over the ceremony in diamond formation.
The Black Hawks were from the 12th Aviation Battalion, headquartered at Belvoir's Davison Army Airfield.