Independence Day 2017

Guest Column

Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison Headquarters, Department of the Army

Independence Day celebrates the birth of the nation and honors the Army’s commitment to defend our nation since 1775.

Also referred to as the Fourth of July, it is observed annually to honor when Congress declared independence in 1776.

The Continental Army and the militia in the service of Congress became known collectively as the Army of the United States, instead of the Army of the United Colonies.

This year marks the 241st anniversary of America’s independence.

What has the Army done?

It was considered essential that the American Revolutionary Soldiers hear the Declaration of Independence document read. But the reading required sufficient copies be produced and distributed to the headquarters of the various Continental Army commands.

Even with dispatch riders and fast-sailing ships, the nation and its armed forces had to wait to celebrate until Continental regiments in the faraway South could actually hear the momentous words.

It wasn’t until after the War of 1812 that observing Independence Day became commonplace.

During World War I, American Soldiers marched through Paris on July 4, 1918, to exuberant crowds. A ceremony was held to mark the renaming of a street to Avenue du President Wilson.

What is the Army doing?

Many military installations hold public events in honor of Independence Day, which may include a concert, gun salute and fireworks display.

In 2017, roughly 183,600 Soldiers will celebrate Independence Day by supporting combatant commanders in 140 countries.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Fourth of July is an occasion to celebrate and commemorate the freedom, history and legacy of the United States of America. It is an opportunity to reflect and thank our Soldiers, civilians and their families for their service, bravery and patriotism.

The United States Army — America’s First National Institution

Since its official establishment on June 14, 1775 — more than a year before the Declaration of Independence — the U.S. Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of the American nation.

Drawing on both long-standing militia traditions and recently introduced professional standards, it won the new republic’s independence in an arduous eight-year struggle against Great Britain.

At times, the Army provided the lone symbol of nationhood around which patriots rallied. (For more, visit the Center for Military History website)

The U.S. Army — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Having served the nation faithfully since that date in 1775, today’s Army is the strategic land power of the joint force.

The Army is an institution older than our nation itself, and our Soldiers continue to serve as the foundation of our Army and the foundation of the joint force.

As readiness remains our Army’s No. 1 priority, we are combat ready because of the extraordinarily selfless and exceptionally talented Army Total Force comprised of Regular Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers, as well as the invaluable support provided by Army civilians, Army retirees and their family members. (For more, visit the Army website.)

Editor’s note: Portions of this commentary were provided by the Center for Military History and the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Headquarters, Dept. of the Army.

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