Hundreds gathered on Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield over the weekend to celebrate the birth of the Nation during the installation’s annual Independence Day celebrations.
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted both events which featured food trucks, lawn games, fireworks, pie eating contests and a Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers pie-in-the-face fundraiser.
Live music provided by the 3rd Infantry Division Band set the tone for both events.
“We all know we have the best damn band in the land, but [F]MWR truly could not have made this event as great as it was without the support of our 3rd ID Band,” Cara Bates, FMWR Special Events Coordinator, said. “Initially we had requested the band to play two small sets but they decided that wasn’t enough for our community and asked if they could bring not one, not two, but three different bands to play for our Independence Day celebrations. The band is full of so many different talented Soldiers and we are so excited that the community really got to see everything they have to offer.”
Maj. Gen. Charles Costanza, 3rd Infantry Division commanding general, attended both events and took the stage along with his wife Megan and members of 3rd ID leadership to welcome those in attendance to the fireworks extravaganza.
Costanza thanked his Soldiers and their Families for all they do year-round, and expressed his excitement to return to the 3rd Infantry Division.
“It’s great to be back at Fort Stewart and be part of the Marne team again,” he said. “[Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield] is Family and getting back to your Family is always special.”
The event marked a sense of normalcy following the recent health protection status update to Alpha across the installations.
Soldiers and Family members were able to celebrate the holiday in a more relaxed, in-person setting; a change from last year’s socially-distanced vehicle-based event that was also live streamed across social media.
“It’s our job to provide amazing events that Soldiers and their Families can attend so they can safely enjoy this holiday,” Bates said. “We want to bring back a little bit of normalcy in a COVID environment, but also ensure that we are being safe and protecting our community.”
The service and sacrifice made by the Soldiers and Family members on Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield was foremost to Costanza during the events.
“We would not have Fourth of July every year if it wasn’t for this group out here,” Costanza said. “Our veterans, our Soldiers and their Families. We get to celebrate the Fourth of July every year because of them so I’d like to thank them for their service.”