By President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
As Commander in Chief to the greatest fighting force the world has ever known, it is my honor to wish the United States Army a happy 246th birthday, June 14, 2021.
In each generation, from the earliest days of our nation to today, a small fraction of Americans has served and sacrificed as members of the U.S. Army on behalf of all of us. From Fort McHenry to San Juan Hill, from the Argonne Forest to Omaha Beach, from the Mekong Delta to the Kunar Valley and beyond, American Soldiers have always answered the call. With immeasurable courage and patriotism, they have preserved our freedom and protected our democracy against all manner of threats. Whether facing down seen and unseen enemies to keep us safe, helping Americans get vaccinated here at home, or delivering humanitarian relief on distant shores, they represent the very best of us.
I believe that our country’s most sacred obligation is to do right by the men and women who defend our nation at war — to care for them and their Families, both while they are deployed and after they come home. It is an obligation we are honor-bound to keep and one that is personal to the First Lady and me. We have witnessed firsthand the incredible strength of character of U.S. Army Soldiers over the course of many visits with troops, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Through the years, we have been blessed to spend time with wounded service members in Landstuhl, Germany, at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, and elsewhere; to welcome veterans to our home for Thanksgiving dinners; and to spend many Christmas days alongside wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And when our son, Beau, served in Iraq as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard, we learned firsthand just some of the sacrifices that our military Families also make for their loved ones and our country. We whispered prayers and learned the truth of the poet John Milton’s words: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Our nation owes a debt to American Soldiers, past and present, far greater than we could ever repay. They are our heroes, deserving of our everlasting gratitude and support. On this 246th birthday of the United States Army, America speaks with one voice to say thank you to our Soldiers for what you do and for who you are. Happy birthday. And may God protect our troops.