WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 30, 2008) - Soldiers, Family members and Army Civilians nationwide are getting ready to celebrate the Army's 233rd birthday on June 14 with a weeklong round of cake cuttings, balls, children's birthday parties and more.

This year's festivities will kick off June 9 at the Fort Myer, Va., child development center with a party hosted by Secretary of the Army Geren and featuring a reading of a new children's book from Army Child and Youth Services about the Army Family and its history. There will be similar parties at child development centers around the Army and children will receive their own copies of the book.

The Army dates its official birth to June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized 10 companies of riflemen, approved an enlistment form and appointed a committee to draft rules and regulations for the Army, according to an article by Robert Wright at the Center of Military History.

"It is important to remind ourselves that our military exists to field forces for victory just as we did in 1775...Our Army is a hugely resilient, professional and battle-hardened force. We are the best in the world at what we do, and we are that way because of our values, our ethos and our people - especially our people. On this Army Birthday, we have much to celebrate and be proud of," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston in a joint 2008 Army birthday message.

Senior Army leaders will host a cake cutting on Capitol Hill June 10 with members of Congress and warriors in transition. The next day, the Army will be back on the Hill with a Future Combat Systems demonstration for Congress, as well as members of the public, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also on June 11, the Army will have its annual birthday Twilight Tattoo, a pageant featuring Army music and ceremonial units, at Fort Myer at 7:30 p.m.

Leaders and Soldiers from headquarters, Department of the Army will return to Fort Myer at 7 a.m. the next morning for the HQDA staff run, to both build camaraderie and honor fallen Soldiers.

Army leaders and Soldiers will hold the annual Pentagon cake cutting at 11 a.m. June 13, with Secretary Geren, Gen. Casey and SMA Preston. Following an old birthday tradition, the youngest Soldier and the oldest Soldier in the Pentagon will participate in the cake cutting. The event will also include an enlistment and re-enlistment ceremony. FCS will have another display set up at the Pentagon parking lot.

Army Accessions Command will conduct more cake cuttings and swearing-in ceremonies for future Soldiers at sporting events across the country that week, including the Florida Marlins game June 10, and the Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets games on June 14. Soldiers will throw out the first pitch during at least three of the games and the Golden Knights will conduct aerial demonstrations at the Mets game and also a White Sox game on June 14.

Army installations and commands around the world are expected to hold Army birthday celebrations, including cake cuttings at Chicago's Daley Plaza and Redstone Arsenal, Ala., on June 13. The Redstone event will include costumed interpreters representing about 12 different eras in American military history.

The Army will continue to honor its fallen June 14, with a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery at 9 a.m., which will be open to all local Army personnel, as well as the general public.

The festivities will wrap up that evening with gala balls around the Army, and especially in Washington, where the Army's top brass will gather with personnel from around the National Capitol Region, wounded Soldiers, and representatives from government and industry. Sgt. Jill Stevens, Miss Utah, and country singer Michael Peterson will serve as masters of ceremonies, while country singer and former Ranger Keni Thomas will perform.