News: Army celebrates 237 years of service, sacrifice
Story by Pfc. Andrew Ingram
FORT CARSON, Colo. – In the summer of 1775, the Continental Congress organized the Continental Army to supplement local militia forces during the Revolutionary War.
More than two centuries after its inception, soldiers of the U.S. Army continue to defend the Constitution and freedom of the American people. U.S. soldiers across the world will celebrate the Army’s 237th Birthday, June 14, conducting ceremonies, attending Army balls and reflecting on the men and women who served and sacrificed in defense of American liberty.
Learning the history and traditions of the Army gives soldiers a sense of pride in their service and a standard of behavior and actions, said Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson, senior enlisted leader, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Inf. Div.
“We celebrate because, along with the 237 years the Army has been in existence, comes 237 years of history that all soldiers should be aware of,” Jefferson said. “We are professionals of the finest Army in the world and we should know what that means.”
It is important for soldiers to use the examples of heroism demonstrated throughout the Army’s history as motivation to improve themselves and their organizations, said Jefferson.
With the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Army began developing its heraldry to meet the needs of identifying soldiers and their units. Creating flags, staffs, emblems and mottos captured the history of Army branches and its regiments.
“I think it should be a time to reflect on the sacrifices that those before us have made,” he said. “I, personally, try to focus on being better, today, than I was yesterday. I look at it as my way of paying back all those warriors who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Jefferson challenged all soldiers to develop themselves by learning as much as they can about Army traditions and history.
For instance, the Roman cuirass located in the center of the Department of Army Emblem is a symbol of strength and defense; the sword, esponton, musket, bayonet, cannon, mortar, cannon balls and mortar bombs represent the armaments used in defense of the nation, according to the Institute of Heraldry.
Above the weapons, the emblem sports the motto, “This We’ll Defend,” a symbol originally depicted on American Colonial flags during the Revolutionary War.
“This is all a part of our professional development and it plays an important role in developing our force,” Jefferson said. “We must know where we came from in order to know where we are going.
Earning recognition for participating in more than a dozen wars and conflicts, the U.S. Army has conducted combat operations on five continents and provided humanitarian aid to countries and people around the world.
In the days leading up to the Army birthday, soldiers at every level of the formation should focus on the adversity and triumph American soldiers experienced throughout the nation’s history, said Sgt. Seanan McMullen, infantryman, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
“We’ve gone more than 200 years as an Army, as a nation,” said McMullen, who returned to Fort Carson, May 26, after a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. “We came from almost nothing, and we became one of the greatest nations in the world.
“I’m honored to be part of such a great institution,” he said.
In celebration of another year of Army history, Fort Carson will host the 237th Army Birthday Ball and celebrate the 95th Anniversary of the 4th Infantry Division at the Special Event Center, June 16.
The Army’s birthday ball has become an integral part in the tradition and pageantry of the Army, said Master Sgt. Stephen Acord, non-commissioned officer-in-charge, intelligence office, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.
“Every soldier should attend a ball at least one time in their career to experience that tradition and to celebrate the history of the Army, as a whole,” he said.
Tickets are on sale at Fort Carson Information Tickets and Registration Office or online at http://bit.ly/KdAb6U.
For more information on Fort Carson’s 237th Army Birthday Ball, call 719-526-1867, or go to http://www.mwrfortcarson.com/event.php?cn=1506.