FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Today it is an honor to say Happy Birthday, Army! For the past 237 years, we have been defending freedom and democracy around the world.

Today we ask our North Country community to join the 10th Mountain Division (LI) in celebrating the Army's 237th Birthday. For some, it's just another summer day. To others, it's a day to celebrate our beautiful American flag. To me, this day commemorates the strength of a nation.

Since June 14, 1775 -- more than a year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- the Army has proudly answered the call of our nation. Our Soldiers have fought in wars at home and abroad from the American Revolution to the war on terrorism.

At Concord and Lexington, on the beaches of Normandy and Inchon, we have fought. From the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of Iraq, and from Grenada to Kabul and places in between, Soldiers have held ground, stayed strong and made sacrifices to make sure freedom and liberty prevailed. The Soldiers of the United States Army have not only fought battles, but have also provided humanitarian support and security to those in need, restoring hope and livelihoods to peoples and nations torn by natural or man-made disasters.

As we celebrate our Army's birthday, let's not forget our veterans past and present. The nation's freedom rests in the hands of our Soldiers, and it's their dedication that makes them the strength of our Army.

Today, America's Army is engaged around the world. After 9/11, the 10th Mountain Division (LI) was the first conventional force deployed into Afghanistan and has remained one of the Army's most deployed divisions -- five division deployments and 28 brigade combat team deployments -- ever since. We currently have nearly 1,400 Soldiers from the 10th Sustainment Brigade in Afghanistan and Kuwait, supporting the effort and taking the fight to our adversaries' backyard, rather than allow him in ours.

Each one of you is a true professional … you are an expert in your field and have volunteered your service in our profession in arms. Whether you serve one enlistment or retire from a career in the Army, you have selflessly committed to serving our great nation -- "Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier."

We couldn't do what we do as Soldiers without the support of the civilians on post. You provide a vast spectrum of services, equip us and transport us. Thank you for all you do, too.

Next I want to say thank you to the Families behind our great Soldiers. While our Soldiers and civilians truly make our Army strong, you make the Soldiers strong. They couldn't do what they do without your support. Army Families serve side-by-side with the Soldiers, enduring their hardships and providing the unconditional love and holistic support that fortifies and reinforces their strength.

When the Continental Congress authorized the Army 237 years ago, even before declaring American independence, the people placed a special trust and confidence in its Army. Throughout its existence, the Army has kept its promises with the American people: The Army will uphold and defend the Constitution and the citizens of our nation.

On the Army's birthday, I'd like to thank every Soldier, civilian and Family Member who has ever served in our ranks for their dedication to duty and selfless service that has made us Army Strong.

Today, as we celebrate the continued honor, loyalty and bravery of our Soldiers in their noble calling, we also want to thank the North Country for their continued support of our Soldiers at Fort Drum.

Climb to Glory!

Mark A. Milley
Major General, U.S. Army