Packed crowd
Attendees celebrate the Fourth of July on Hamilton Field, Schofield Barracks, July 4, 2012. This year's festival will only be open to military members and their families to accommodate conditions such as returning service members and safety concerns.

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii (June 14, 2013) -- U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii will host a July 4th celebration, here, for military members and their families to pay tribute to their contributions in the defense of freedom.

"This is the first time in almost 10 years that most of our Hawaii-based service members are home to enjoy the freedoms they've fought for, and to celebrate together with their families," said Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, USAG-HI. "We owe our service members a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices they have made, and we appreciate the community's understanding as we focus this year's event on our military ohana."

In the past, the Army has opened the July 4th event to the public; however, Army officials are forecasting that Schofield Barracks will reach maximum field capacity this year due to conditions that did not exist in previous years, including the return of most service members from deployment, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Marine Corps Base Hawaii not offering fireworks.

Because of these capacity and safety concerns, the event will be open to Department of Defense ID cardholders. This group includes military members, their families, military retirees, DOD civilian employees and their authorized guests.

"Ensuring safety and security on our installations is always the Army's top priority, and maintaining safety, capacity and security at a large event like this is absolutely critical," Whitney said.

"We recognize that this year's change may be disappointing to our surrounding friends and neighbors who were planning to attend; however, we hope they will understand. Safety must come first," he explained.

The Schofield Barracks July 4th event annually attracts between 30,000 to 50,000 attendees.

Page last updated Fri June 14th, 2013 at 00:00