By Katie Nelson
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 14, 2012) --- Crowds gathered around a massive replica of an Abrams tank constructed entirely out of cupcakes in the Pentagon courtyard, June, 14. The sweet creation was in honor of the Army's 237th birthday.
The Army's official birthday is June 14, though the service has been celebrating with events throughout the week.
The Pentagon event began with an address by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. During his message, Dempsey commended the Army for their dedicated service over the years.
"What impresses me the most is the heart and soul of our Army, and that, of course is the men and women of courage and character who sign up to serve something greater than themselves," Dempsey said.
Following Dempsey's speech, Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh spoke of how honored he felt to participate in such a special event, and how the purpose of the celebration should not only be to rejoice at the Army's longevity, but also to thank the 1.1 million Soldiers who serve now in America's Army.
When asked if he had any words for the men and women currently serving overseas, McHugh said, "America is what it is today because of the sacrifices that people like them make each and every moment. They're always in our hearts and thoughts, and this birthday is a celebration of what they and their comrades do to keep this great nation strong."
Following McHugh's speech, members of the U.S. Army Honor Guard carried in the official Army birthday cake, which was cut with a ceremonial sword, by
McHugh, Dempsey and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the birthday celebration was the second "cake," in the shape of an Abrams tank, that was made from cupcakes.
The tank cake was created by local Washington, D.C., bakery Georgetown Cupcake. It was built from 5,000 mocha fondant and buttercream cupcakes and weighed around 2,500 pounds, according to the bakery's founders, Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Kallinis.
For the two sisters and stars of the TLC reality show "DC Cupcakes," the opportunity to showcase their work at a large Army event was a privilege.
"We love being part of these events," Kallinis said. "Every year, we bake and ship 10,000 cupcakes to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is a huge honor for us. It really brings meaning to what we do every day."
Arguably the cake's most exciting feature was its ability to fire a cupcake from the tank's "main gun." That feature was engineered by placing an air cannon inside the cake that propelled the cupcake outward, the two co-owners revealed.
The birthday celebration will continue with the Army Birthday Ball on Saturday evening at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in downtown Washington, D.C.