Monday, March 16, 2009

U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team Kicks Off 50th Anniversary Celebration

/PRNewswire/ -- The Golden Knights, the U.S. Army's official parachute demonstration team, kicked off their 50th anniversary today during a special ceremony that celebrated the team's half century of serving the country as Army ambassadors while also representing more than one million American Soldiers.

"Fifty years ago, the Golden Knights were established to compete in the sport of parachuting," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, Commanding General of U.S. Army Accessions Command. "Today, they are just one example of the many unique and interesting career opportunities available in the U.S. Army. The Golden Knights illustrate how the U.S. Army can help you achieve your goals with over 150 different career specialties - whether it is to become a doctor, an engineer, or even a computer technician. The Golden Knights of the Army Parachute Team represent the best of our Army: noncommissioned officers, technically superior soldier-athletes who daily demonstrate the Army values. In the Army's 'Year of the NCO,' it is fitting to celebrate 50 years of sustained excellence by our Golden Knight NCOs and their officers."

Formed in 1959 as a Strategic Army Corps Sport Parachute Team, the Golden Knights' initial purpose was to compete in the then communist-dominated sport of free-fall parachuting. The team performed so well that on June 1, 1961 the Army officially recognized, designated and activated the team as the U.S. Army Parachute Team.

Since then, the Golden Knights have awed audiences across the country and the globe at air shows and competitions. More recently, the team has conducted high-profile tandem jumps with dignitaries such as former President George H.W. Bush, who jumped for his 80th birthday along with friend Chuck Norris, as well as celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Ann Curry, Bill Murray and David Hasselhoff.

Today, the Golden Knights consist of two demonstration teams which travel nationwide performing aerial demonstrations at air shows and special events in support of Army recruiting efforts, and two competition teams which travel and compete nationally and internationally at various parachuting competitions. Year after year, the Golden Knights continuously bring home honors and are the most successful U.S. Department of Defense sports team.

"Like every U.S. Army Soldier, the Golden Knights exhibit a strength like no other - developed through half a century of challenging training, a spirit of teamwork and a set of shared values," added Col. David Lee, Director of Marketing for the U.S. Army Accessions Command. "Although the Golden Knights have a unique mission, throughout their history they have represented something even more special - the strength that can only be gained through being a U.S. Army Soldier."

Participants in the anniversary celebration included the Honorable Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Golden Knights alumni, including several original members of the 1959 team and Sonny Hill, president of the team's alumni association.

As part of the event the Golden Knights unveiled a special 50th anniversary patch which all team members will wear throughout the year. Busts for former team members Sgt. 1st Class Pedro Munoz, the first combat fatality in Afghanistan who jumped with the Golden Knights from 1998 to 2002, logging more than 4,000 freefall parachute jumps while shining for the Gold Demonstration team, and Chief Warrant Officer Michael J. "Mike" Novosel, a former pilot with the Golden Knights who earned the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot, were also dedicated in recognition of their service.

"We have proudly represented the U.S. Army with every jump taken over the last 50 years. Each successful Golden Knights mission honors the sacrifices and accomplishments our fellow Soldiers make every day, whether they're fighting overseas or serving back home making a difference for their families, their communities and the nation," said Lt. Col. Anthony Dill, Commander of the Golden Knights. "To celebrate our 50th Anniversary this year, the Golden Knights will honor our unique history, all past and present members, our fellow U.S. Army Soldiers and the American public each time we jump."

As part on their ongoing 50th anniversary celebration, the Golden Knights have a variety of special activities planned for the coming months, including jumps into the new Yankees Stadium and the Statue of Liberty grounds in New York City.

The team will also continue to perform at air shows, compete on an international level and perform high-profile tandem jumps. In addition, the Golden Knights will visit high schools to work with local recruiters and help show young adults the variety of opportunities available in the U.S. Army.

For more information about the Golden Knights year-long 50th anniversary celebration or to learn more about the team's unique history and to view a schedule of events, visit

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Closer Look at Our National Anthem

An awesome look at our national anthem-

Brought to you by the James Waldrop Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Fayetteville, GA
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Patriotic Meaning of Folding the United States Flag

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."

The 6th fold is for where people's hearts lie. It is with their heart that They pledge alleg iance to the flag of the United! States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, "In God We Trust."

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The American Legion Lauds Ben Stein for Support of Troops

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Television personality Ben Stein is being honored by The American Legion for his outspoken support of America's armed forces. The 64-year old lawyer, economist, author, actor and commentator is the recipient of the veterans service organization's 2009 National Commander's Public Relations Award.

The honor will be bestowed upon Mr. Stein by David K. Rehbein, the Legion's National Commander, during a luncheon ceremony on Wednesday, March 4th in Washington, DC, Mr. Stein's birthplace.

"Ben Stein's intelligence and wisdom are well known," said Commander Rehbein, "and he has demonstrated these qualities in a most important way through his steadfast support of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. His native wit is just a bonus - but a great one," added the Commander.

Mr. Stein's award citation commends him for his "stalwart commitment to raising public awareness about the contributions of America's men and women in military uniform. Your book The Real Stars: In Today's America, Who Are the True Heroes? is an eloquent reminder that it isn't actors or celebrities that deserve stardom, but the soldiers who patrol the streets of Iraq to protect others. You have been an articulate and staunch advocate for America's military members and veterans in numerous media interviews and public appearances. Moreover, your support for God, Old Glory, family and the American way of life is a hallmark of your outstanding patriotism and professionalism."

Commander Rehbein, in further praise of the award recipient, noted that Mr. Stein donated the proceeds from his 2007 book to the families of fallen warriors. "His generosity and patriotism cannot be questioned," concluded the Commander.

Previous recipients of The American Legion National Commander's Public Service Award have included Meet the Press host Tim Russert; entertainer Wayne Newton; NBC Anchorman Tom Brokaw; ABC News Correspondent Jack Smith; famed editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin (who created the World War II GI characters Willie and Joe); former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett; movie, radio and TV icon Red Skelton; White House aide and Hollywood executive Jack Valenti; and television and radio commentator Lou Dobbs.

Over a thousand representatives of the 2.6-million member American Legion are gathered in the nation's capital this week for their annual Washington Conference. The three-day event will include visits to key legislators on Capitol Hill to communicate the veterans service organization's agenda items for the 111th Congress.

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