Army Birthday Message from our Foundation’s President

On this 249th Birthday of the United States Army, I am especially grateful for the generations of Americans who have served our nation wearing the Army uniform, and I have never been prouder to call myself an American Soldier.

Last week, I had the incredible fortune to be in Normandy for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. Travelling to Europe, I reflected on how the World Wars transformed the U.S. Army into a global force.  Just as the Army’s first Soldiers banded together to secure freedom here at home, the U.S. Army of the early 20th Century rose to defend democracy on an intercontinental battlefield.  

As I walked among the crowds packing the coastal towns, I was lucky to meet some of the Army veterans who had landed on those beaches 80 years ago. Fittingly, they were greeted as heroes, receiving the gratitude of both their fellow Americans and the local citizens who now live under the banner of freedom once safeguarded by their young lives. These D-Day veterans were a powerful reminder that the history made on that day—and every day of the last 249 years—was made by individual Americans who accomplished the extraordinary as Soldiers.

As part of my trip, I had the chance to fly above the shoreline for a paratrooper’s view of the landing zones. It was an emotional sight. I saw the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean that separated the Americans from their home, the thin line of beaches turned red by the blood of Soldiers, and the expanse of the European Continent that the Allies went on to rescue from the grips of tyranny.

I am thankful for everything that I experienced during my time in France, though I will always be most grateful that I had the opportunity to share this trip with my son. While I hope his generation never sees such a global conflict again, I am glad that he could meet the Soldiers who once answered the world’s call and witness all that they accomplished through their sacrifice.

Thank you for supporting The Army Historical Foundation and helping us keep Army history alive in the memory of our nation. And to all Soldiers, Army veterans, and Army families, I wish you all a happy birthday!

Brigadier General Burt Thompson, USA-Ret.
President, The Army Historical Foundation