By Spc. Rochelle Krueger, 3rd Sustainment Brigade Public AffairsJuly 5, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. (July 5, 2012) -- Fort Stewart's Soldiers, families and friends enjoyed an array of activities to celebrate America's Independence on Donovan Field, July 4.
The celebration kicked off around 10 a.m with activities for the entire family such as getting caricature drawings, inflatable boat rides, a Frisbee dog show, a petting zoo and spray park to cool down, plus plenty of food for everyone to enjoy.
There were numerous food tents sponsored by various local organizations and groups. The unique thing about the food tents was everything was free to all.
"It's nice how they give back to us as Soldiers," said Spc. Brad Mendel, of 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Third Infantry Division. "It's great that they try to make our families' lives a little bit easier as well."
"The military has done so much for our community we wanted to participate in the celebration as a way to give something back to them," said Malbro Roberts, a local sponsor from Hinesville, Ga.
"They are the ones who pay for the price of freedom for us, this is the least we could do."
Aside from food, water and various prizes there was one vendor that brought about 100 volunteers to give out food and thank you cards.
"We have a lot of love and respect for service members, they have a really hard job," said Brittany Hall, a volunteer from a local church. "We are out here to thank all of the Soldiers; to give a few minutes and give back to someone who gives us so much more just seems natural."
"[We came out for] all of the family fun that they have for the kids like the water parks and petting zoo," said Vanessa Camacho, a family member. "We are looking forward to the concert, of course, and some good fireworks with a lot of family time."
Camacho was not disappointed when the sun started to fall and the music filled the air on Donovan Field.
The concert was kicked off by Mockingbird Sun, who drove from Kentucky this morning just to play for the Marne Soldiers. They were followed by R&B sensation Mario. The singer was a crowd favorite, especially after he brought a woman from the audience to join him on stage.
Mario was followed by country music idol Martina McBride. She serenaded more than four thousand people for nearly two hours ending with one of her greatest hits, Independence Day.
As the concert drew to a close, everyone looked to the night sky to enjoy the fireworks show, a fitting end to the day's festivities.
Though Independence Day is a day for celebrating, one must not forget that many have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. The theme for the celebration this year was 'worth fighting for.'
"We celebrate those who are serving because they are the ones who sacrifice their lives every day for our freedom," said Maria Mendel, wife of Spc. Mendel. "Celebrations like this allows us to reflect on what Soldiers in the past gave to allow us to be free, [freedom] is what's worth fighting for."