By Armstrong, BillJune 11, 2008
Some Fort Riley children celebrated the U.S. Army's 233rd birthday by attending a book reading June 10 on post at School Age Services, Building 5810.
Col. Richard Piscal, Fort Riley garrison commander, read "Happy Birthday, U.S. Army!" to a large group of children, parents and staff members at the Fort Riley Child and Youth Service Army Birthday Celebration kick off.
The new book is from Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command's Child and Youth Services. Its pages are kid-oriented, with plenty of pictures, graphics and history. The birthday-themed book is about a young boy talking about his father's Army service, his grandfather's birthday, and the similarities between his immediate Family and the larger Army Family of which he is a part.
"We tend to celebrate the Army's birthday focused on the folks wearing the ACUs. The shift in focus on Army Families, putting in a lot of resources and a lot of programs, just makes good sense. Today is a celebration of the Army birthday and Families are what make the Army strong. The strength of the nation is our Soldiers, and the strength of our Army is our Families," Piscal said.
The garrison commander kept his audience alert by asking them questions as he read through the 25-page book. The children sat on the floor in a semicircle around Piscal. Each followed along with a personal copy of the book as he read to them.
Sgt. Benjamin Reynolds, a unit supply specialist for 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, brought his 7-year-old daughter, Nicole, to the party.
"I think it's important for the kids to know the whole history of the Army and why members like me and other Family members serve our country."
After the reading, the children were invited to help blow out the candles on a large birthday cake. A live band comprised of FMWR staff played patriotic and light rock music before and after the reading.
In the adjoining room, children sat down for a hot dog lunch. Staff Sgt. Antoya Gordon ate with her daughter, Tomia, and her twin sons, Tommy and Tomahj.
"It was fun," said Tomia, 8. "I learned that there are a lot of Soldiers in the Army and this is their 233rd birthday."
Army CYS is distributing about 60,000 copies of the book to youth on garrisons worldwide for reading before the Army's June 14 birthday.