White Sands Missile Range celebrated the Army’s 239th Birthday and Flag Day with a ceremony that commemorated the Army and the American Flag’s rich history June 12 in front of Building 100.
“We’re celebrating over 239 years of keeping our country free and honoring those that have come before us and given it their all; those who could not be here to enjoy this beautiful day,” said Garrison Command Sergeant Major Sgt. Maj. Jesus DeGracia. “As these Soldiers rise through the ranks in the profession of the Army, they continue to carry the heritage forward.”
Garrison Commander Col. Brian Michelson was the master of ceremony that celebrated pride, cohesion and heritage. The event began with a historical overview of the American wars fought. With each historical overview a 2nd Engineer Battalion Soldier would present the battle streamer to Michelson and WSMR Command Sergeant Major Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers to place on the Army flag. A total of 21 battle streamers were presented.
“First, I salute you for your service,” Michelson said of the Soldiers who are currently serving.
“You enlisted during a time of conflict, just as the generations of great men and women did before you. Yet, if it were not for men and women like you, who in many ways are no different from these generations that have gone before us, we would perhaps still be nothing more than a group of British Colonies, and the world would, in my opinion, be a very different and much darker place,” he added.
The history of the nation’s flags was presented through the use of five Soldiers, each holding an American flag that has flown at one point in history; the Grand Union flag, the Betsy Ross flag, the Bennington flag, the Star Spangled Banner, and the Old Glory. The ceremony ended with a group of 2nd Engineer Battalion Soldiers lowering the American flag.
“It will be your grit, skill, courage, and determination that determine the success or failure of the Army’s role in future conflicts, for contrary to the skeptics, these conflicts are sure to come until the nature of mankind fundamentally changes,” Michelson said. “It is for us then to view these times of peace also as times of preparation to ensure that when the national calls we and you will be ready.”