It’s odd at times, if you think about it, that if just one minor event in your life was different than what it was, your present and future, as well as countless others, might be totally different.
For instance, if you normally get up at 5:00 a.m. but for some reason you got up earlier or later, you may have gotten into a traffic accident that you would have missed if you had gotten up at your regular time. That accident held you up from getting to work on time where normally you would have made a routine decision that really didn’t mean much.
But now because of the accident, you didn’t get to work to make that routine decision and someone else at your higher headquarters made it for you. As usual, their decision was completely wrong. That, in turn, started a whole new chain of reactions that affected thousands of other people around the world. And it all started because you didn’t get out of bed when you normally do.
Well that’s sort of how Fort Bragg came to be. A driver makes a mistake, a 19 year-old takes advantage of it and all hell breaks loose.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, who was heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was shot when his driver took a wrong turn in Sarajevo. Nineteen year old Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist opposed to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, just happened to be standing around when Ferdinand’s car stopped near him. He took the opportunity and shot Ferdinand and his wife at point blank range.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire blamed the Serbian government and declared war on Serbia.
Russia supported Serbia and Germany supported the Austro-Hungarian Empire, so they too were drawn into the war. Britain, France and Belgium were allies with Russia so they entered it.
In the end, most of Europe, their colonial possessions and even Japan got involved in the war. We, the U.S., tried to stay out of it but eventually we entered it … and you know the rest of the story.
It was because of the U.S.’s involvement in World War I that Fort Bragg came to be and why we are starting to recognize our 100th birthday. Next year, Sept. 4, 2018 to be exact, Fort Bragg will turn 100.
Because our history is so rich and diverse and has touched so many people in the U.S. and around the world, we’ll be recognizing our 100th birthday throughout the year. There is no way we can recognize all that has happened here in just one day.
Each month, between now and September 2018, we’ll be recognizing events in our history by each decade. Granted there are 12 months in a year and only 10 decades in 100 years, so we’ll also recognize two major milestones in Fort Bragg’s history: the 555th “Triple Nickles” Parachute Infantry Battalion and the founding of Special Forces.
Though we’ll be looking back and recognizing the history of the millions of service members who have trained here, their Families and the thousands of Department of Defense civilian employees who supported both groups, our history isn’t done. It’s made every day here, no matter when we get up.