During the day’s celebration a group of Army recruits took their oath of service, and students from Lang Middle School in Dallas demonstrated the proper folding of an American flag. Finally, the observance ended with the ceremonial cutting of the cake with an Army saber by the youngest member in attendance, Private Sara Carranza (17) of Lewisville and a seasoned soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Woody Alexander (retired), a veteran of Korea and Vietnam.
Captain Brook Crihfield, Commander of the Dallas Army Recruiting Company, spoke a few words to the assembled audience.
“I am honored to be serving with the greatest people in the world in the greatest Army in the world and in the best city in the world,” Crihfield said. “We’ve come a long way as an Army from a militia revolting against the oppressive rule of the British to the strength of the nation. Since its inception in June 1775, the army has accomplished the toughest missions of our times. And generations of American soldiers have volunteered and answered the call to duty with unloitering commitment to honor and values.
“Today as we celebrate the 237th birthday of the U.S. Army, we honor the veterans of foreign wars, the soldiers, civilians and families who have made the sacrifices to serve and protect our great nation. We also honor the communities with which they partner, because your support enables us to be Army strong.
“Over the years we have grown from the trench warfare tactics of WWI to the technological tactics of today. We have grown as a country. We have grown as an Army, and we have grown as soldiers.
“Now on the Army’s birthday, I would like to thank every soldier, civilian and family member who has ever served in our ranks for the dedication to duty and selfless service that has made the U.S. Army strong. The strength of our nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our soldiers. The strength of our soldiers is our families. And the strength of our families is you, the community. This is what makes us Army strong.”
A career soldier, Sergeant First Class Joshua John Curry watched the ceremony with pride.
“My favorite part of the ceremony was seeing the middle schoolers folding the flag,” Curry said. “I’ve been on a lot of flag details and funeral details. I’m glad to see that we have our young personnel starting off properly.
“The Army has been great to me. I enlisted when I was in high school, and I am working on my PhD in criminology at the University of Dallas.
“I’ve been in the Army for 10 years. I’ve been secure financially. My family lives in an affluent neighborhood, and my daughter attends private school. So it has been a blessing for me, especially coming from my humble beginnings. The Army is definitely a great place to get your life on track. It is also a great steppingstone to get you where you want to be in life.
“We are much more broad than what is portrayed on television. We see Iraq and Afghanistan on television, because it is an attention grabber, but we are very diverse.”
Now retired from the Army, Woody Alexander also participated in the day’s events.
“The ceremony was special, and I thought it was well done,” Alexander said. “I cut the cake with a young private who just enlisted today. I told her I said the same oath she just took 45 years ago today.
“I think the Army is going to provide a good career for these young people. It is a changed Army from when I joined. Back then, a lot of people were drafted and they didn’t have a choice. These people made a choice today that will benefit all of us.
“The Army is my home. A lot of us are actually born into the Army. I was born in Dallas in 1945 while my father was in the European theater in WWII. When my son was born here in 1969, I was in Vietnam, so it’s part of your family.”
Dallas Mayor Pro-Tem Pauline Medrano took the opportunity to remember the City’s employees who have served in the armed forces.“Although wars are fought with weapons, they are won by the will of the soldier. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our men and women in uniform, and in particular, the 800 plus City of Dallas employees who have served in all branches of our armed forces,” Medrano said.