FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Soldiers, civilians and Fort Meade community members celebrated both the Army’s 236th birthday and Flag Day with breakfast, cake and camaraderie at Club Meade June 14.

More than 300 people attended the annual AUSA-sponsored event. At the start of the event, a Defense Information School color guard posted the colors.

“It’s really heartwarming to see so many members of the Fort Meade community here today,” said Col. Dan Thomas, Fort Meade installation commander. “What a great day to get together.”

Guest speaker, Maj. Gen. Kevin R. Wendel, First Army Division East commanding general, credits the men and women who make up the military with its success over the years. Despite its continuing evolution, the Army continues to be “a brotherhood; a group of people who still stand up and serve.”

“Their tremendous capabilities and sense of community brings the Army together as a profession of arms,” said Wendel. “When you reflect on our history, it’s extraordinary. 236 years ago the Army was only about 10 companies of volunteers.” Today, more than one million Soldiers serve around the world.

“One percent of our nation serves in uniform, but it's an extraordinary one percent,” said Wendel.

Wendel went on to explain that while it is very important for Soldiers to know and understand their past and how the Army originated, it is also important to know and understand where it is headed and to contribute to its growth.

“Get involved at whatever level you can,” Wendel urged. “This Army is an Army of ideas, and great ideas start at the Soldier level.”

While the Army paused on June 14 to take stock of its past, Wendel urged everyone to stop and think about the Army and veterans every day. “Find a vet and shake their hand. Thank them for their service and thank their families.”

Wendel was joined by Lt. Col. (retired) Alfred Shehab, a 91-year-old World War II Battle of the Bulge Soldier, Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Carlos Deporto, a 90-year-old veteran, and Spc. Chad Davis, Headquarters Command Battalion to cut the Army’s birthday cake.