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4-H Honored by the Army at Fort McNair in Washington, DC

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington honored 250 4-H members from across the nation on June 22, 2005, with a reception at the Officer’s Club located on the banks of the Potomac River at Fort McNair in Washington, DC.

The youth were visiting Washington, DC., as part of Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), a leadership program that helps youth learn about the world around them by focusing on understanding the importance of civic and social responsibilities as they relate to the development of better citizens and leaders.

The group was scheduled to attend a Twilight Tattoo at the White House Ellipse, but the event was cancelled due to weather. The Twilight Tattoo is a military tradition that can be traced to the 17th century’s 30 Years’ War. The 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" are featured. The U.S. Army Drill Team performs before the troops march onto the field. The reviewing official inspects the troops as they stand at attention.

Major General Galen B. Jackman welcomed the 4-H group and reminded them of the symbols of American history that can be found on the National Mall–from the Capitol, Washington Monument, and Lincoln Memorial to the military memorials interspersed throughout.

“[The symbols] are very important because our country wouldn’t exist without men and women in uniform,” Jackman said.

Jackman compared military personnel to 4-H’ers as each group lives by a code. Members of the military take an oath to defend and protect the United States, live by the Warrior Ethos, and uphold the seven Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. 4-H’ers, he noted, live by the 4-H pledge, “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, and my world.”

“It is important to reflect on your code because it says a lot about who you are,” Jackman said. “Your code will be your rock as the storm blows over.”

Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Fife and Drum Corps performed for the group playing “Yankee Doodle” and other songs of war.

Donald Floyd, President and CEO of National 4-H Council, thanked the Army for the reception. He said he is proud of the relationship 4-H possesses with the military because they share a lot of the same values.

CSREES and the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center are working together to provide youth development programs to children living on military installations around the world and also to children of Army Reserve and National Guard families.

The USDA/Army Youth Development Project combines USDA’s expertise in youth development with the Army’s goal of becoming the nation’s model for youth programs. Benefits of the program include:

  • Mission readiness - Soldiers can focus on their mission, knowing their children are in safe, supervised environments with caring adults.
  • Impacting new audiences – Extension and 4-H are able to reach a previously unserved audience with 4-H Youth Development.
  • Wise use of public resources - Tax dollars and resources are used effectively by bringing together USDA’s expertise in youth development with the Army’s goal of becoming the nation's model for youth programs.

Floyd spoke highly of the partnership between 4-H and the military. Speaking to the youth, he said, “I hope one of you will be here in uniform in the future welcoming 4-H’ers to Washington.