This weekend was worthy of celebration for many reasons to include the birth of the U.S Army, Flag Day, the graduation at West Point and our 45th U.S. President who chose to celebrate with the cadets.
U.S. President Donald J. Trump enjoyed his 74th birthday over the weekend by presenting a commencement speech at the graduation ceremony at West Point in New York where 1,107 cadets assembled on the parade field known as ‘the Plain’.
The commencement ceremony on the Plain marks the second time it was ever held there, the other being in 1944.
After the size of the corps doubled in the 1960s, the commencement ceremony was held every year at Michie Stadium except in 1977; before being held at Michie Stadium, smaller ceremonies were held at Gillis Fieldhouse and Trophy Point.
For the first time, family and friends were not in attendance due concerns over the pandemic, however the ceremony was broadcast live for them to watch.
President Trump noted that the graduating cadets come from every state, race, religion and ethnicity, bringing them together as one:
“When you entered these grounds, you became one part of one team, one family, proudly serving one great American nation. You became brothers and sisters pledging allegiance to the same timeless principles, joined together in a common mission, to protect our country, to defend our people and to carry on the traditions of freedom, equality and liberty that so many gave their lives to secure.”
This statement of unification and hope comes amid tumultuous and orchestrated mainstream media coverage of his handling of the racial divide across the country.
President Trump, born June 14, 1946 in Queens, a borough of New York City is the first U.S. President has never served in the U.S. military, however, he does have a strong affection for our soldiers and sailors likely due to his attendance at the New York Military Academy where he learned strong leadership skills, team building and work ethic.
He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School then took charge of his family’s real-estate business in 1971 and built an empire and a few side businesses and celebrity status to amass an estimated $2.1 billion in wealth prior to running for the nations 45 President in 2016.
On the same day Trump celebrated his birthday, the U.S. Army celebrated its 245th as well.
On June 14, 1775, the Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress to fight the Revolutionary War. George Washington was the Army’s first commander in the war against Great Britain which won America its independence from the motherland.
After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and considers its institutional inception to be the origin of that armed force in 1775.
Since that time, the U.S. Army has undergone many changes and has developed into Army Soldiers and Civilians that embody the Army Values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage and are committed to the mission.
It is the largest military branch, and in the fiscal year 2017, the strength for the Regular Army was about 476,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) had 343,000 soldiers and the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) had 199,000 soldiers for a combined total of approximately 1,018,000 soldiers.
The mission of the U.S. Army is “to fight and win our Nation’s wars, by providing prompt, sustained land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders”. The branch participates in conflicts worldwide and is the major ground-based offensive and defensive force of the United States.
Finally, June 14th Old Glory was celebrated in remembrance of Flag Day, a time when Americans reflect on the foundations of the nation’s freedom.
Americans also remember their loyalty to the nation, reaffirm their belief in liberty and justice, and observe the nation’s unity.
These statements contradict the narrative in the minds of some segments of the population currently and in much of the mainstream media as of late; however, traditionally, our Star Spangled Banner meant strength, unity, honor and tradition.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress replaced the British symbols of the Grand Union flag with a new design featuring 13 white stars in a circle on a field of blue and 13 red and white stripes – one for each state. Although it is not certain, this flag may have been made by the Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross, who was an official flag maker for the Pennsylvania Navy.
In June 1886 Bernard Cigrand made his first public proposal for the annual observance of the birth of the flag when he wrote an article titled “The Fourteenth of June” in the old Chicago Argus newspaper.
Working as a grade school teacher in Waubeka, Wisconsin, in 1885, Cigrand held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at Stony Hill School in Waubeka.
Cigrand’s effort to ensure national observance of Flag Day finally came when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide observance of the event on June 14, 1916.
However, Flag Day did not become official until August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed the legislation and proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day. In 1966, Congress also requested that the President issue annually a proclamation designating the week in which June 14 occurs as National Flag Week.
The President is requested to issue each year a proclamation to call on government officials in the United States to display the flag of the United States on all government buildings on Flag Day; and to urge US residents to observe Flag Day as the anniversary of the adoption on June 14, 1777, by the Continental Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States.
This great nation was built on the backs and blood of many great men in order for American citizens to be allowed to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and Old Glory represents all that those values entail.
This weekend held much to celebrate amidst some of the worst of humanity. Let us hold dear that which is precious and good, while letting go of that which is ugly. We are a great nation and we will rise above this and be great once again.