On June 14, 1775, the Continental Army was established to defend our fledgling colonies and secure our independence from oppression. A full year older than the Declaration of Independence, our Army has played a vital role in the growth and development of the United States. Soldiers have fought in 10 wars, multiple actions throughout the world, and provided the sword and shield that have ensured our liberties and freedoms.

In the United States, our country did not officially have a flag until June 14, 1777, when it was adopted by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.  In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day, a day that was later enshrined by an Act of Congress in 1945. A decade later, the first official U.S. Army flag was unfurled June 14, 1956, in Philadelphia.

As we reflect on Friday and celebrate Flag Day and the 244th anniversary of the establishment of our incredible force, I feel we must look at what has made our Army strong and resilient through the last two centuries – the dedication of our Soldiers and their Families to the ideas enshrined in our constitution.

Throughout this nation’s history, our mission as an Army has remained constant; to preserve America’s peace and security and to defend the United States of America. We continue to do this at home and abroad by fielding the most disciplined, competent and fit force in the world and maintaining the bonds of trust that unite us both as Soldiers and Americans.