PHILADELPHIA - How does a two-star general celebrate the Army’s 238th birthday?
For Maj. Gen. William D. Razz Waff, commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command, the day was spent here June 14 remembering yesterday’s heroes, honoring today’s citizens, and welcoming tomorrow’s Army leaders.
The day began by cutting the ribbon on the National Constitution Center’s new 1968 Exhibit, which features a section highlighting the Vietnam War. The general noted that Vietnam veterans often received sub-par treatment when they returned home from war.
“It has been said that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, and we as a nation can learn many valuable lessons from our history and those who preserve it with exhibits such as this,” Waff said.
Next up was a cake-cutting ceremony at Independence Hall, along with a mass enlistment of Army recruits and a performance by the Army Reserve’s 78th Army Band.
“It is great to be here to celebrate the Army’s 238th birthday,” Waff said, “and it gives me great pleasure to wish all of my fellow soldiers a heartfelt and well-deserved, ‘Happy birthday.’”
A dozen new American citizens were naturalized during a Flag Day ceremony at the nearby Betsy Ross House.
“We could not be who we are as an Army today if it was not for the immigrants in our ranks, not only in generations past but even today,” Waff said.
City hall was the next stop for a flag retirement ceremony hosted by the Philadelphia Flag Day Association and featuring a vocal performance by the U.S. Army Band chorus.
“Anywhere our soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors or Coast Guardsmen deploy, the American Flag is always with them,” Waff said.
Rounding out the day was a commissioning ceremony for 11 cadets from Drexel University’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. These new second lieutenants commissioned into all three Army components – active duty, National Guard and Army Reserve.
“At a time when just 0.6 percent of our eligible Americans volunteer to serve in the nation’s military, we must do all we can to ensure our men and women in uniform have all the resources and support behind them to be successful both on and off the battlefield,” Waff said.