Soldiers, Families enjoy Independence Day celebration

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Fort Stewart Soldiers and their Families celebrated Independence Day, July 4, with an incredible assortment of fun-filled activities for all ages.

The celebration kicked off at 10 a.m. with a demonstration of athletic ability put on by Lawrence Frederick of Disconnected K9’s, a 39 time World Frisbee Dog Finalist, and his cadre of four-legged friends.

“This is our sixth year here,” said Frederick. “You guys do so much for all of us and showcasing our dogs, who are all rescues, and entertaining you guys is just a small way for us to give back.”

The sentiment of appreciation was shared by all in attendance, be the Soldiers and their Families or the personnel involved in planning and putting on the day’s activities, which included bounce houses, face painting, a rock wall and an array of water activities.

Volunteers from the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee as well as local businesses and organizations prepared and provided a free lunch to all in attendance. Soldiers and their Families were served dishes ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to award winning barbecue.
“I really appreciate what they’re doing for us,” said Sgt. Gregory Thomas, a water treatment noncommissioned officer assigned to the 92nd Engineers, Third Infantry Division. “They didn’t have to go through all this trouble and they did.”

Thomas added that his children had enjoyed the morning’s events but he and his wife were looking forward to the evening’s entertainment.

Thomas was not disappointed when, as darkness drew near, music filled the air over Fort Stewart and the Soldiers and their Families were treated to an earth-trembling concert at Donovan Field.

The concert was kicked off as the Grammy-winning artist, and 2006 American Idol winner, Fantasia, took the stage clad in a new 3rd Infantry Division baseball jersey that had been presented to her earlier in the evening by Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, commanding general for Third Infantry Division and 3rd Inf. Div. Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson.

Fantasia was followed by another Grammy-winning act, the Georgia native Zac Brown Band, who serenaded the crowd for nearly two hours before finishing their performance with the hit song, and crowd favorite, “Chicken Fried.”

The celebration drew to a close as all in attendance looked to the night sky and enjoyed the fireworks that danced above, accompanied by a soulful version of “America the Beautiful,” sung by the late Ray Charles.

Hunter celebrates Independence Day early
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - Hundreds of Family and service members from tenant units at Hunter Army Airfield, along with civilians from surrounding areas, showed up for the second free “Worth Fighting For” Independence Day celebration at Hunter. This year the celebration was held 4-9:30 p.m., July 2, at Family Day Field.

The crowds packed the bleachers and moms, dads and children stood in the warm, humid breeze to watch one of the event’s highlights - the Dog Frisbee Show.

“We found out about this event on line,” said Kim Seeley, a 4th Infantry Division spouse whose husband is deployed to Afghanistan. She attended the celebration with her mother, her three-year-old son, Carson, and her four-month-old daughter, Madeline.

This year, School Age and Youth Services provided additional activities for the preteen and teen attendees. Crowds of youth gathered around the popular laser tag game, hamster ball and video games supervised by Jadon Black, SAYS director.

“We’ve gotten a lot of participation this year,” he said, acknowledging that additional activities were needed to hold their interest.

Other events for military children included free admission to the Hunter Outdoor Pool, free fishing at Hallstrom Lake and free bowling at Hunter Lanes. Service members at Hunter also got the opportunity to play free golf at the Hunter Golf Course. Other free activities included kid rides and games, face painting, and a petting zoo. Several food vendors were on site throughout the afternoon and evening for the hungry crowd; free water was also available, compliments of the Hunter Directorate of Logistics.

The featured entertainers for the evening included the rap artists, Casino, and John Taglieri, a New Jersey-based musician, singer-songwriter, recording artist, and record label owner with eight independent albums to his credit.

The celebration ended with adults and children gazing into the sky at a spectacular fireworks display.