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'Worth Fighting For' July 4th worth celebrating
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The countdown to Independence Day festivities has begun. Soldiers and their families can enjoy July 4th a little early Thursday, July 1, and Friday, July 2, during the “Worth Fighting For” weekend at Fort Stewart.

“We have our families here,” Fort Stewart spokesperson Kevin Larson said. “We have invited the community; the community is a member of the (Army) family.”

Larson said families of deployed troops need some R&R while their soldiers are away serving, and therefore they deserve to celebrate with a lively Independence Day event.

“Many of our 4th Brigade soldiers will be leaving shortly after the July 4th holiday,” he said. “Some of them will have a chance to participate.”

The installation’s gates will open to the community at 5 p.m. Friday, July 2, for an outdoor concert at Donovan Field East, featuring En Vogue at 7 p.m. and Darius Rucker at 8:30 p.m. Fireworks will follow.

Larson said concertgoers may bring folding chairs and blankets, but coolers, alcohol and pets will not be allowed.
The Independence Day festivities will kick off with a four-person scramble golf tournament at Taylors Creek Golf Course Thursday,July 1. Tee-off is at 9 a.m. The tournament fee is $25 per player. To register, call 767-2370.

A “Salute to the Nation” and canon salute will be held at 7 p.m. July 1 at Cottrell Field.

Youngsters and adults can enjoy carnival rides at Walker Field, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. July 1 and 2. Rides will be pay-as-you go July 1, and free to military members and their families July 2.

On July 2, military families can expect plenty of food, courtesy of the Hinesville Military Affairs Committee and other organizations and individuals. The food court will be open from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the area of West Sixth Street and Bundy Avenue, near the AAFES car wash facility.

HMAC has supervised the food court for the past six years, HMAC member Melinda Whalley Schneider said.
“This (food court) was previously a homecoming event, but now the soldiers do not return home at the same time so for the past three years this has been a Fourth of July celebration,” Schneider explained. “Our food courts will feed between 5,000 and 7,000 people between the hours of 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Friday, July 2, this year.”

Schneider said several businesses, schools, banks and government entities have promised to help with the food court, but volunteers are still needed. To volunteer, call 884-5599.

Schneider’s husband, P.J. Schneider, also an active HMAC member, said the committee was established about seven years ago, under former Mayor Tom Ratcliffe. Hinesville City Councilman David Anderson (District 3) currently chairs HMAC.

“Our primary mission is to support the soldiers and their families,” P.J. Schneider said. He added the committee has on average about 30 members, but often gains 10 to 20 more members when HMAC participates in events like Fort Stewart’s July 4th celebration.

Military families also can enjoy an interactive game area, petting zoo and Frisbee dog show at Newman Field July 2. Games will be held from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and the petting zoo will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Frisbee dog performances are scheduled for 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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