FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- As we again prepare to celebrate Torchlight Tattoo Friday with a spectacular fireworks display and a 282nd Army Band concert, I am reminded of the remarkable teamwork that takes place each year in making our Independence Day tribute. This event is always successful thanks to the hard work and dedication of countless Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians across Fort Jackson.

I can’t say enough about how proud Fort Jackson is to be the host of the best Fourth of July fireworks display in the Midlands tomorrow night. Did you know that it takes the strength of two battalions and the support of practically every person on post just to make this event happen?

The planning and execution that are put into motion to handle the massive flow of traffic coming on and going off post is impressive. The degree of difficulty increases because of the Soldiers who need to get to and from Hilton Field, making the crowd and traffic control to and from the event a real challenge.

The Soldier Support Institute, which once again coordinated plans for Torchlight Tattoo, deserves the lion’s share of the credit. But SSI will tell you that it would be hard-pressed to accomplish the mission if it were not for the cooperation and support of many of our units and activities. The bottom line is that the best fireworks show in the Midlands is the result of a great display of teamwork.

But isn’t extraordinary teamwork what makes America tick? eamwork is what drives our Army, that’s for sure.

Just look at the past 10 years and what the men and women of our Army have done deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in support of the United States’ strategic objectives. It’s nothing short of amazing that on the ground and at the point of influence, our Soldiers are getting it done. We have helped to lay the foundation for a new future in Iraq and continue to help Afghanistan in its struggle for freedom.

Meanwhile, we have been answering other calls when they come. When an earthquake rocked Haiti last year, the 82nd Airborne Division and others were there to help. When a tornado ripped through a Missouri town this spring, destroying the town’s hospital, the Missouri National Guard was there setting up a field medical unit. In short, our Army has not only been there to answer the call to arms, but it also answers the calls for help and assistance.

A professional, adaptive and responsible Army such as ours was not born overnight. But just as it was in 1775, when the settlers grabbed their muskets and left their fields, our all-volunteer Army answers the calls of our nation.

As America gets ready to celebrate her birthday, let’s kick back a bit, enjoy the fireworks and savor the moment. For a few hours tomorrow night, let’s relax with our guests from the Columbia area, celebrate our nation’s 235th birthday and think about how great a country this truly is.

As it has been for nearly three decades, Torchlight Tattoo promises to be a powerful patriotic observance and a sight to behold. Appreciate it. You earned it, because you help make it happen.

Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!