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Army birthday party, from cake to helicopters
Armys youngest oldest soldiers w b-day cake
The 3rd Infantry Division’s youngest and oldest soldiers, Pvt. Levi Gary, 17, and Maj. Stanley Mason, 62, prepare to cut the cake for the Army’s 234th birthday. It is tradition that the Army’s youngest and oldest soldiers cut the first slice of cake together. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones

See it again

If you missed Friday’s presentation of the 3rd ID’s Twilight Tattoo,  you still have a chance to see it. The 3rd ID will present the Twilight Tattoo again during its Salute to the Nation Ceremony at 6 p.m. July 2 at Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.

Explosions boomed through the air on Friday night as soldiers and their families gathered at Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field to celebrate the Army’s 234th birthday.
Although today officially marks the anniversary of the Army’s creation on June 14, 1775, the 3rd ID commemorated the occasion early with a display rich in pageantry and history during the division’s first Twilight Tattoo.
“Before there was a nation, there was an Army,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division. “We believe there is much for us to be proud of … and tonight we’re saying that at 234 years later, there is still a lot worth fighting for and we give thanks to the men and women willing to sacrifice for it all.”
The tradition of the Twilight Tattoo began more than 300 years ago when soldiers were signaled by the sounds of a bugle that the pubs and taverns were closed and it was time for them to return to their tents.
Over the years, the tradition has morphed itself into a soldier show, demonstrating the precision, strength and talents of today’s troops.
Friday’s musical and theatrical showcase wowed the crowd as they were taken back in time with 3rd ID soldiers to the trenches of World War I to the streets of Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  “The blue and white patch of the 3rd ID represented freedom for thousands of Europeans,” narrator Jeff Fornshell said as a soldier wearing a Korean War uniform approached the crowd.
Members of the 3rd ID band evoked the emotions of each period with heart-thumping tunes from the various eras as the audience watched.
Claps and cheers could be heard coming from the audience after soldiers dressed in today’s Army combat uniforms stealthily crept toward the crowd.
Rachel Barlow, wife of Sgt. First Class Frank Barlow, who plays the trumpet in the 3rd ID band, said she tried hard to fight back emotion as each story was told.
“It made me want to cry,” she said, “Just remembering all the people who served and all the people who died. Unless you have been there, you really don’t know.”
“It made you scared, it made you sad and it made you thankful for when they come home,” she said. “It definitely kept your attention.”
A helicopter flew in as the crowd sang “God Bless America.” Children pointed and soldiers yelled “Hooah” as the event came to a close.  
“That was cool,” said eight-year-old Matthew Schultze.
Desert Storm veteran Miguel Cruz-Lopez couldn’t agree more. 
“A lot of these families have never seen any of this,” he said. “All they know is that the soldiers put on these uniforms and go off to work. They really don’t know what they do or how much they sacrifice.”
“For them to do this,” he said, “It was great!”
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