On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress reorganized the American revolutionaries and created what is now the United States Army, with George Washington appointed commander-in-chief the following day.
Soldiers at Fort Gordon celebrated the Army’s 242nd anniversary Wednesday with an early morning formation run and an afternoon commemorative ceremony.
During the ceremony, Col. Robert Edmonson, commandant and chief of signal school at Fort Gordon, called the Army the strongest land force the world has known.
“You come from a strong history and a strong legacy,” he said. “Someday future generations will be where you are and they will honor your service today.”
The ceremony includes the traditional cake cutting by the youngest enlisted soldier and the youngest officer in the command. Second Lt. Jacob Garcia, 22, and Pvt. Alexa Scott, 17, sliced the cake with swords to begin the celebration.
“It’s a unique experience to be involved I such a long standing tradition,” Garcia said. “There are commanders and other soldiers who have served longer than I’ve been alive.”
Soldiers dressed in the different uniforms representing the transition of the Army through time. Uniforms from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, both World Wars, Veitnam, Desert Shield, and modern combat signified the history of American conflicts. The unit paid special honor to World War I which the U.S. entered 100 years ago this April.
Edmonson told the soldiers they celebrate their individual birthdays throughout the year, but June 14 is a chance for them to celebrate together and keep a sense of where they come from.
During the ceremony, 20 soldiers were brought on the stage to take the Oath of Enlistment. The oath is taken when soldiers first enlist and then at subsequent reenlistments. Sometimes special circumstances allow soldiers to take the oath at memorable places or events, such as Wednesday’s ceremony.
“The traditions are significant because they pass on, from generation to generation, the history and accomplishments of our United States Army,” he said. “We can ensure the future generations continue to strive for excellence. Service in the army is greater than self.”
Reach Thomas Gardiner at (706) 832-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org