We have a saying here in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg, NC and around Pope Air Force Base.
When a piece of heavy equipment rumbles by, or the boom of artillery rattles some windows, or an A-10 "Warthog" or a C-130 fly by, we yell out over the noise, "That's the sound of freedom!"
The 4th of July is an especially important holiday for us, and we love to celebrate it. Freedom is a very real and tangible concept to us in Fayetteville. Our community is filled with people who have served their country for many years, and in many dangerous and rough places. World War II veterans, Korean War and Vietnam vets, and Panama and Gulf War veterans are now joined by a great number who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, some on their 3rd or 4th tours. Freedom isn't just a noble sounding word here; it's a commitment, and a trying one at that. It's the thing that soldiers leave their families for, that many risk their lives for, and that we all believe in, no matter what our politics are.
And we also know how to celebrate it very well! Every year, we have a 4th of July celebration that lasts for days!
This year, our 4th of July celebration won't be any different. Fayetteville and Fort Bragg have so many events scheduled this weekend to celebrate freedom, and they begin on Friday evening, the 2nd of July. The North Carolina Symphony will perform in Festival Park. The program will include a full program with music from "Porgy and Bess", "Moon River" and, of course, some marching music. Fireworks follow. The event begins at 8:00 and concludes after the fireworks display.
Saturday is for baseball! The Fayetteville SwampDogs play the Outer Banks Daredevils at J.P. Riddle Stadium, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Of course, fireworks follow! Earlier in the day, you can catch the activities in Hope Mills. A parade starts at 10:00 a.m. and it is followed by the Battle of the Bands (11-4 p.m), country and rock performances and FIREWORKS beginning at 9:15 p.m.
On Sunday, Fort Bragg plays host to the celebration. Events begin at 3:00 p.m. with the opening of Kiddie Land, and some fun events like the "Wife-Carrying" Competition in which male soldiers (civilians can participate, too!) carry their wives or partners through an obstacle course. AT 4:30, country singer Jamie Tate will perform, as well as my favorite, the 82nd Division All American Chorus.
Then, at 5:00 country singer Colt Ford performs. Following him, at 6:30 the Golden Knights will put on a free-fall demonstration.
And, in the evening, the 82nd Division All American Band will play and feature the "1812 Overture". They'll be followed at 9:45 with one of the best fireworks displays anywhere--a pure celebration of freedom.
I love being a part of this community! Fayetteville and Fort Bragg are a great place to be, to work and to live any time of the year. But, during our nation's special holidays, especially the 4th of July, they are a GREAT place to be, because we are surrounded by those who can be counted among the true patriots.
The price of freedom is high, and many in our community have paid that price, and so have their families. That's why we celebrate freedom and all it means to us.
Please come and join us this year, here in America's Hometown--Fayetteville, NC!