White Sands Missile Range celebrated the Army Birthday and Flag Day with a moving ceremony outside Headquarters June 11.
Garrison Commander Col. Brian Michelson thanked community members for joining WSMR to honor both the U.S. flag and the U.S. Army.
“As you look at the flag before you I would ask you to take a moment to consider what it represents,” Michelson said. “It represents hope, hope for life, for a better future for so many Americans and generations.”
“As one of those first generation Americans whose parents came to this country as one of those tired, poor and huddled masses. I remain ever convinced that this country remains the greatest on earth and a land of both freedom and opportunity.”
“It is also a nation that has produced the greatest Army and most effective Army in existence. Today we celebrate the Army’s 240th birthday and pay tribute to the men and women who have served and currently serve in its ranks,” Michelson said.
“We can easily look back and turn every one of them into mythic individuals, rightly honored, but in many ways most are remembered as history books figures and buried beneath white crosses, but they were more than that, they were ordinary men and women like people you know with brothers, cousins, fathers, mothers, hopes and dreams, who were called to do extraordinary things for their country as part of our Army.”
“These Soldiers fought and faced more than should be fairly asked of them, in many cases gave the last full measure of devotion not only for their country but for their fellow Soldiers,” Michelson said.
During a presentation of Army Campaign Streamers Command Sgt. Maj. William Maddox and WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin placed several streamers on the Army flag. The streamers represent the courage and dedication of those who served during the country’s time of need.
“I would invite you to reflect on each set of streamers affixed to the Army flag, each one represents the sacrifices of many of the best and brightest our country had to offer. May their sacrifice remind us the privilege they have bought with a price and may we live lives as Americans to honor their memory,” Michelson said.
In honor of Flag Day during a History of the U.S. flag presentation several editions of the U.S. flag were presented to include the Grand Union, the Betsy Ross, the Bennington, The Star Spangled Banner and Old Glory.
At the end of the ceremony Coffin and Maddox were joined by the youngest enlisted Soldier on the installation, Pvt. Israel Romero, and the youngest officer on the installation, 1st Lt. David Hoy, to cut the Army birthday cake.