Mr. Speaker, today, we honor the United States Army, the oldest of the five military branches, on the 243rd anniversary of its founding.
On June 14th, 1775, America was under attack. The British forces occupied the city of Boston, but the minutemen of Massachusetts resisted. These patriots fought bravely at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill, and inspired others from the surrounding colonies to join the fight.
The Second Continental Congress took note of their courage, and when they convened in May 1775, they set out to create an army for the defense of all of the colonies. On June 14th, Congress officially established the Army, and the next day appointed General George Washington as its commander. With his marching orders, Washington rode out to his new command, where he successfully drove the British out of Boston. The newly-formed Continental Army spurred the colonies to victory in gaining their independence from their British oppressors,
The Army has been steadfast in the defense of the American democracy ever since. During its illustrious history, the Army repelled the British attack on New Orleans, charged up San Juan Hill behind Teddy Roosevelt, and stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. The Army ranks have always produced the best and brightest in America. Countless members of Congress and fifteen presidents wore Army uniforms before stepping into public office.
My father, TSgt Virgil Poe, served in the Army as a teenager, in combat, during the Second World War in Europe.
Their service has not come without sacrifice. In the course of history, hundreds of thousands of Americans in the Army have given their lives in defending our country from harm. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to this rare breed of men and women, the American breed.
Today, nearly half a million men and women make up the most formidable fighting force in the world. As artillery gunners, aviators, chaplains, cooks, dentists, doctors, engineers, infantrymen, intelligence officers, lawyers, nurses, tankmen, technicians, and veterinarians, these individuals are the backbone of the American military and continue to serve as they always have, with honor and distinction, and embody what it means to be Army Strong.
Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Army is a vital component of our democracy. They have protected us for 243 years, and wherever we go, you will always know that the Army goes rolling along.
And that is just the way it is.