By Danielle Davis, Bayonet & Saber /
Thousands of Soldiers, trainees, and Families gathered at York and Gardner Fields June 24-25 for Fort Benning’s annual Independence Celebration.
Each year DFMWR hosts the celebration. This year marked the first time it spanned over two days.
“A lot of hard work went into putting this together. I’m glad to see everyone out here having a good time with their Families,” said Chris Harris, an MWR technologist specialist.
Independence Day Celebration
Emelda Diaz was one of the first to walk onto Gardner Field June 24 when the celebration began at 4 p.m.
She brought her grandkids out to enjoy the rides and food.
“This is our second year coming out,” said Theresa Sanders, one of the vendors.
Sanders said that she and her husband Mark, a retired first sergeant, and their kids look forward to coming back again with their food truck, M & T Smackin’ Snacks.
Anthony McKee, another vendor, has been coming to the Independence Day Celebration for six years.
“Everyone is so nice and polite. I enjoy coming out here,” said McKee.
Gabby Haywood, a former student of Faith Middle School, was there to enjoy the event with friends.
“This is my third or fourth time out here. I can’t wait for the fireworks,” she said.
Advance individual training Soldiers were given the opportunity to come and enjoy the celebration.
“It’s a good break from all the training we’ve gone through in the last couple of weeks.
We always look forward to the fireworks,” said AIT trainee Christopher Sellers.
“It’s nice to get away from the training a bit and have fun with the guys. We train hard every day so it’s just fun,” added AIT trainee Taylor Schoonover.
Laquetta Bryant, a Columbus resident, said that she was enjoying the festivities with her family.
“We’ll be out here until the end of the day,” she said.
Brown added that watching the Silver Wings and Rangers’ demonstrations was cool.
Amanda Allen also traveled from outside the gates to attend both days of the celebration. She was joined by her family.
Allen added that her kids enjoyed watching the SPIES and FRIES and were looking forward to seeing the fireworks.
“We come out for the fireworks. I love this celebration. We’ll be the first ones back here next year,” said Dennis Lewis, another attendee.
Veteran Freddie Brown was also there to take in the sights.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been out here for the Independence Day Celebration. I wanted to see what my Soldier friends are doing out here. I’m glad to see so many people out here having a good time,” he said.
Brown added that he would be happy to return next year.
Officer candidates had a break from training in order to participate in the festivities.
“It’s nice. We’ll be back in training following this,” said officer candidate Franklin Washington.
View more photos from the event at Fortbenningphotos.com.