The United States Army is 237 years old this week -- specifically, tomorrow, June 14.
It was 1775 when the Continental Army was established to defend our fledgling country, in an act that merged the militias of the original 13 colonies to beat back British rule. George Washington was named the first commander-in-chief of the Army and served in that role from 1775 to 1783.
At a wreath-laying ceremony at Washington's tomb at Mount Vernon, Secretary of the Army John McHugh tipped his hat to today's troops and said that this Army birthday is a time to honor their ongoing sacrifice.
"I doubt if anybody in early 2001 could have believed that a volunteer force could have gone out and taken on the two missions in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and these soldiers have been so successful -- and at the same time commit ourselves to dozens and dozens of other missions across the planet," said McHugh. "So it really is a celebration of the resiliency of the American soldier."
While I appreciate the Secretary's sentiments, let's not get too complacent about how "resilient" anyone can be after being deployed on two, three and four combat tours and take this time to look at helping our active-duty troops and Veterans with key issues like employment, PTSD and the epidemic of suicides among our ranks.