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Stunts, Frisbees round out 4th
Children who got an upclose look at a firetruck included Hannah, Kyle, Johnathan and Connor Corrigan. - photo by Photo by John Corrigan
As of Wednesday, July 4, it’s been proven. Fort Stewart’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation organization knows how to throw a party.
The MWR and the city of Hinesville threw a great big birthday bash for the country throughout the day on Fort Stewart’s Newman and Cottrell fields, as well as Fort Stewart’s water park, mini golf, swimming pool and bowling lane.
The nation’s 231st birthday celebration went off splendidly and without a hitch — well, almost. The party was scheduled to end at 9:30 p.m. with a half-hour fireworks show on Cottrell. But the half-hour show became a five-minute ordeal after a fireworks accident that injured two people.
Witnesses claim to have seen a stray firework fly into a box, presumably containing other fireworks. The resulting explosion set a tree on the field ablaze.
Fire trucks, an ambulance and military police vehicles were on the scene quickly and the incident was contained.
Other than the five-minute firework show. the rest of the birthday gala went off on schedule and there were thousands of happy partygoers.
The day started with an early morning — 8:30 am to be exact — “Walk to Iraq.” The walk is an Army community activity, allowing families and supporters of deployed soldiers a means to express their support. The local folk walk the equivalent of the distance to Iraq.
After the walk, at 11 a.m., the MWR staff and volunteers set up and ran recreation and water activities near the Cypress Creek and Fort Stewart swimming pool  facilities. Children from the Fort Stewart and Hinesville community enjoyed water slides and free access to the post’s Cypress Grove water park.
At noon, Fort Stewart soldiers fired a 50-gun salute (one shot for each state in the nation). Family members and soldiers on hand saluted and paid respect to our country on its birthday.  Fifty flags were displayed on Cottrell Field, one for each state. The flags, guns, soldiers in uniform along with the sound of cannon fire set on Cottrell field created an environment steeped with patriotism and pride.
The charged and patriotic crowd shifted its focus to Fifth Street at 4:30 p.m. to enjoy the high flying acrobatic adrenaline and gasoline fueled stunts performed by world class street bike, dirt bike, BMX and skate boarders. The stunt show was performed three times on the Fourth and the crowds for all three shows were standing room only. The pace and ambiance of the shows was maintained by a young emcee and the roar of the crowds.
Not to be outdone by the stunt show, the Frisbee dog show (also with three shows that day) put on an action packed talent show featuring four-legged acrobats. The Disconnected K9s were on hand. catching Frisbees in their mouths to upbeat music and performing high-flying catches that a two-legged individual would be hard pressed to perform. All the dogs that are used are animals that had been rescued by the performers from animal shelters or worse.
During all of the performances the MWR staff, along with volunteers, manned inflatables on which children tried to perform their own stunts, the children enjoyed scaling two rock walls, climbing and sliding down a number of slides, blasting each other in mazes with water guns and laser tag devices.
While the children were playing, the dogs catching and the bike riders stunting, Ken Schultz was dressed in a garish yet tastefully appropriate for the occasion Uncle Sam outfit that hid his stilts, making him the height of a regulation basketball goal. Schultz was also juggling and shaking hands with the children.
Appetites were satisfied with free food. There were also watermelon and pie eating contests. During the birthday celebration the MWR provided free bottle water at numerous locations throughout the two fields.
The night began to wind down and bringing up the last leg of the party was Corey Smith, whose guitar and band mesmerized the crowd, filling the air with cheerful, breezy light and carefree vibes. After the music the fireworks display started.
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