» By Tiffany Comer
“A soldier is a unique individual who is willing to endure personal hardship and danger for the greater good of the nation without an expectation of great accolades or fame,” said APSU’s Master Sgt. Randall Underhill.
“They do this with a deep respect for our nation’s ideals and to support and protect their friends and comrades who share in this purpose.”
The 101st Airborne Division recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. The division started on August 16, 1942, and the Army created the first paratrooper divisions.
The first commanding general of the 101st, Maj. Gen. William C. Lee, said, “The division had no history, but it had a rendezvous with destiny.”
Many military officials were not convinced the “Screaming Eagles” would find success, though.
“Officials prophesied that we were going to fall on our faces, from the very beginning,” said former soldier Ed Shames. But the 101st managed to prove officials wrong on the D-Day invasion of Normandy, and in many instances since.
The 101st is one of the leading divisions to be deployed to the war in Afghanistan. Each year the 101st holds a “Week of the Eagles” in August to honor its soldiers living and soldiers not forgotten.
“It is an awesome feeling to place ‘Old Abe’ on your sleeve to go to work knowing that you are part of that team and history,” Underhill said.
This year, the Week of the Eagles commemorated the legacy with games, an air show, memorials and a run for the fallen. Each day was dedicated to the major wars making up the legacy of the Screaming Eagles.
A concert featuring Kelly Clarkson was also planned, but was cancelled due to inclement weather. However, it has been rescheduled for Sunday, Sept. 9.
Last week, the Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munich invited 250 soldiers of the 101st to join the Titans during a practice. The team also issued hundreds of preseason tickets to soldiers and their families.
The Week of the Eagles is designed as a fun way for hard-working soldiers and their sacrificing families to take a break.