Photo Caption: Col. Gregory D. Gadson, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir commander, thanks the community for befriending and employing the Army community during the 6th annual Armed Forces Community Covenant signing Monday. Representatives from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Fort Belvoir, the Military District of Washington, Naval Support Activity, and local leaders and the public attended the signing and the subsequent parade.
February 20, 2014
By Brittany Carlson, Belvoir Eagle
Fort Belvoir, Va. (Feb. 17, 2014) - Military Families and the local community renewed the bonds of friendship and partnership Monday during the 6th Annual Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony, in Old Town Alexandria's Market Square before the George Washington Birthday Parade. The theme of the event was "Honoring our Nation's military and their Families."
Leaders from the Military District of Washington, Fort Belvoir and Marine Corps Base Quantico, along with local business representatives, veterans, military Families and civilians signed the covenant pledging support for the local military community.
"This is a very exciting and important day here in Alexandria to kick off the 282nd birthday of the nation's first president," said William Euille, the Alexandria city mayor. "We are also cognizant of the fact of how important our military is, not only in our nation but throughout the world, and so this ceremony today is to honor the men and women who have given so much of their time and their efforts and lives in support of defense of our nation and the world and so we are extending our thanks and appreciation to them."
The Quantico/Belvoir Regional Business Alliance and The City of Alexandria George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee co-hosted the event, with support from a variety of community and military-affiliated sponsors.
Col. Gregory D. Gadson, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvior commander, Fexpressed his thanks to the city of Alexandria, Marine Corps Base Quantico and Quantico/Belvoir Regional Business Alliance for their continued support.
"This covenant validates the importance of our partnerships," he said. "Fort Belvoir has participated in several community covenant signing events. Every one of them demonstrates a very deep, a very personal and a very significant appreciation of our Soldiers and their Families. These mutual partnerships enable the Army to build strong communities. We thank you for honoring us in such a meaningful way by inviting us to participate."
Miles Friedman, chairman of the Quantico/Belvoir Regional Business Alliance board, initiated the local covenant signing six years ago, as president of the business alliance.
The event started out as an Army Community Covenant signing between Fort Belvoir and the business alliance, and then grew to become part of the George Washington Birthday celebration and emphasize all of the service branches, he said.
"Our emphasis of course is on Fort Belvoir and Marine Corps Base Quantico because they are two local installations, but this is an outpouring of affection and support for the military," he said. "We want them to know how welcome they are in our community."
Onlookers had the chance to sign the covenant, stop by information booths and listen to the U. S. Marine Corps Band from Marine Corps Base Quantico perform before watching the parade.
The parade included a mix of military units and support groups, along with civilian clubs and organizations, all paying tribute to George Washington's legacy. Actors portraying George and Martha Washington arrived during the parade and stopped to watch from the reviewing stand with military leaders, including Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, U.S. Army Military District of Washington commander and Col. David W. Maxwell, commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico.
"It's a fantastic parade," said Jim Marshall, Air Force veteran who lives in Alexandria. He said holding the Armed Forces Community Covenant signing before the parade demonstrated the military's commitment to the general public.
"The military is here to serve the people and it's a great way to show them exactly that we do care," he said.
The covenant signing also demonstrated unity between service branches, added Sgt. Kendal Chase, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, as she waited for the parade to start.
"That's what the military is coming to right now -- all of the joint forces are coming together and it's great that the city supports that, too," she said.
For more information on the Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony tradition, visit www.washingtonbirthday.net/armed-forces-covenant.