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Can you guess what these famous Americans have in common?

Each of them served in the U.S. Army. The Army is the United States’ oldest branch of the military. It was created on June 14, 1775 – a year before the Declaration of Independence – as the Continental Army.

This week, the Mini Page salutes the Army and all branches of the service as we celebrate Veterans Day on Sunday.

A key to our freedom

In the American Colonies in the 1600s and 1700s, militias (mih-LISH-uhs) provided defense and safety. (A militia is a military force made up of civilians.)

When the Revolutionary War began in April 1775, these militias fought against the British. But they were unorganized and not working together.

On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted to establish the Continental Army. George Washington was appointed the commander of the Army.

When the war ended in 1783, the United States Army was created to replace the Continental Army.

The Army

As Americans continued to expand westward, the Army enforced the government’s policies about Native Americans. In the Mexican-American War, the Army helped gain a lot of new territory for the United States.

The Army has fought in 11 wars since its birth more than 237 years ago.

Today, the Army has three components: the active regular Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Artist H. Charles McBarron created a series of paintings called “Soldiers of the American Revolution” in 1976. This painting is of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. (The battle with British forces actually took place at Breed Hill, which was closer to Boston.) Though the American forces lost the battle, they proved to the British that they could fight on equal terms.

Author Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Baseball legend Jackie Robinson

President Ronald Reagan

President Ulysses S. Grant

“Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak

Walmart founder Sam Walton