Fort Sill celebrates Independence Day with a ‘Salute to the Nation’
1 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Sill's Salute Battery, Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery, "Big Deuce" fires a single shot in honor of each state during Fort Sill's Salute to the Nation Independence Day Celebration July 4, 2023. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Sill celebrates Independence Day with a ‘Salute to the Nation’
2 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Leaders with Fort Sill's Salute Battery, Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery, stand ready to give the command to fire during the post's Salute to the Nation Indepence Day celebration July 4, 2023. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Sill celebrates Independence Day with a ‘Salute to the Nation’
3 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 22 basic trainees, who will swear in July 6, 2023, were honored at Fort Sill's Salute to the Nation celebration for their commitment and dedication to the nation and the Army July 4, 2023.

"These individuals have demonstrated exceptional commitment, courage, and dedication to the principles that our nation holds dear. They have chosen to serve the United States even before they officially became its citizens, embodying the very essence of patriotism and selfless service,” said Col. Mike Barefield, chief of staff, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson)
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Fort Sill celebrates Independence Day with a ‘Salute to the Nation’
4 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Emilee Tripp, Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery commander, gives the signal to fire during Fort Sill's Salute the Nation Independence Day celebration, July 4, 2023. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Sill celebrates Independence Day with a ‘Salute to the Nation’
5 / 5 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Sika Dzidzonu is one of 22 basic trainees looking forward to citizenship and serving her adopted country. She immigrated from Togu, West Africa to the United States 12 years ago and was immediately moved by the abundance of opportunities. She, along with her teammates were honored July 4, 2023 at Fort Sill's Salute to the Nation Independence Day celebration. She will take the oath of citizenship July 7 at Fort Sill. (Photo Credit: Christopher Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL
Independence Day is not just a celebration of our nation's birth, but also a celebration of the values that make us who we are as a nation. Today, we've seen those values embodied in the dedication of our trainees, the unity of our veterans, and the spirit of our community. — Col. Mike Barefield, chief of staff, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill.

FORT SILL, Okla. (July 4, 2023) — Fort Sill held its annual Fourth of July ceremony with the traditional musical Salute to the Nation with the 77th Army Band and the Fort Sill Salute Battery, July 4, 2023.

While the thunder of artillery is not an uncommon sound, both inside and outside the confines of Fort Sill, Tuesday’s celebration of the Nation’s 247th birthday brought a few extra booms, a new musical composition and the introduction of 22 basic trainees who will swear in as newly-minted American citizens later this week.

Spc. Sika Dzidzonu is one of those trainees looking forward to citizenship and serving her adopted country. She immigrated from Togu, West Africa to the United States 12 years ago and was immediately moved by the abundance of opportunities.

“I wanted to give back to this country that has given so much to me,” Dzidzonu said. “For me, today’s celebration is all about freedom. Today is also my celebration of becoming a U.S. citizen and to me, that’s very special.”

Col. Mike Barefield, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill chief of staff, applauded the trainees and described them as the epitome of the hope and opportunity that continues to draw people from all walks of life to seek citizenship and serve the nation.

“Today, we honor the enduring spirit of freedom, resilience and unity that has shaped America's history and continues to guide our path forward,” said Barefield. “We also have the distinct honor of welcoming 22 basic trainees into the fold of American citizenship. These individuals have demonstrated exceptional commitment, courage, and dedication to the principles that our nation holds dear. They have chosen to serve the United States even before they officially became its citizens, embodying the very essence of patriotism and selfless service.”

The 77th Army Band premiered a specially commissioned piece — "Echoes of Independence" — to a large audience, including veterans of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery.

Warrant Officer Martin Johnston, bandmaster, said the composition was the creation of Justin McCall, a former member of the band who has since transitioned into a career in education.

The piece harmoniously intertwined patriotic melodies with the sounds of cannon fire, providing the musicians from the 77th with an additional selection to add to their musical collection, alongside the "1812 Overture."

James Wallace, Vietnam veteran and former section chief in the battalion, said it was an honor and privilege to see his former battalion at work on this special occasion.

“We’ve been planning this trip for over a year,” said Wallace, speaking for the half dozen veterans in attendance. “Our battery, Charlie Battery, doesn’t exist anymore but seeing our battalion on the field is an amazing sight and brings back a lot of memories.”

As the celebration drew to a close, Barefield took a moment to reflect on the significance of the occasion. "Independence Day is not just a celebration of our nation's birth, but also a celebration of the values that make us who we are as a nation," he said. "Today, we've seen those values embodied in the dedication of our trainees, the unity of our veterans, and the spirit of our community."

See more photos at Fort Sill's official Flickr page