Saturday is the U.S. Army’s 233rd birthday. It’s also Flag Day. Those are just two reasons to have a party.
But reasons good enough for the 111th Engineer Battalion to invite any and all who might like to come to the Camp Bowie National Guard Armory for an open house and “A Day at the Camp.”
“We want to extend our welcome, open our doors and have the communities in and around Brown County out to our Armory for an afternoon of free fun for all ages, visits with soldiers and their families, and information booths for everyone,” said Capt. Jeff Nash, headquarters company commander for the Texas Army National Guard’s 111th Engineer Battalion.
The event is being held free of charge to promote patriotism, enhance military awareness and honor the deployed service members of all branches of the military, Nash said.
Games and military displays will open at 1 p.m. and close at 5 p.m. Hot dogs, drinks and cookies will be served from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Joyce Leidig, with the Military Family Support Group, said there were 2,000 wieners and 2,004 buns.
“We’ll give hot dogs away until we run out, and if we have at least four vegetarians who will settle for just a bun, we’ll do fine,” she said.
Special displays and simulators have already been scheduled by the Army and Navy.
Leidig said there will be two rock climbing walls, sponsored by the Army and National Guard, but that also “kids will have the chance to crawl all over old military vehicles. This is just going to be such fun.”
Nash said numerous volunteers and organizations from the community have “stepped right up to help make this day happen.
“In our committee meetings we made a firm decision to make this an entirely free event,” he said, and added the community spirit involved in making the day free and fun had been gratifying.
The Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts of Central Texas and the Early Key Club are among the volunteer groups.
“The basis of the event is simply to stop and join together for a time to give back to those who are so supportive of our units and all military organizations,” Nash said. “The event also allows local civilian supporters, active, guard, reserves, veterans, retirees and soldiers of the 111th Engineers to pause and reflect on our great nation, those currently serving at home and abroad, those who served in the past, and to honor local wounded and fallen heroes.”
Two with local connections who are planning to be in attendance are Pfc. Brent Cothran, of Brownwood, who is being treated for a closed head injury at San Antonio, and Sgt. Shilo Harris, originally from Coleman, who was severely burned in Iraq.
Leidig said papers and materials for making cards of support for the military would be available so people will have the opportunity to show their support. Also, National Guard members will be passing out “I caught you being good” awards to deserving children at the event.
Closing ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m. and 1,000 small flags will be handed out for people to wave in patriotic participation Leidig said.