MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- In America it’s more than just a night to watch fireworks and eat barbecue. It’s a celebration of the birth of our nation. It’s a night where we can honor those who fought for our nation and those who are fighting for our nation. It’s a time when everyone is invited to come celebrate the most patriotic night of the year.
The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center kicked off this year’s Fourth of July celebration at Victory Field July 4 with lots of fun, food and live entertainment.
There were several activities set up for younger kids to enjoy such as a rock climbing wall, an inflatable water slide and inflatable jump toys. Several Marines from around the base volunteered to run the events.
"It felt good to see everyone come out and to see the little kids having fun," said Pvt. Todd Colomb-Green, Marine Corps Communication-Electronic School student. "I like being able to volunteer and help out."
Several units set up food stands to raise money to help offset the cost of their unit’s Marine Corps Ball by selling cotton candy, snow cones and ice cream all the way down to turkey legs, hamburgers and hotdogs.
Tunes from the band Mylin, Debra Arlyn and the Combat Center Band echoed across the field throughout the event.
"This is my second time being able to perform for the Marines at Twentynine Palms," said Arlyn. "It always is a great time because the Marines treat us awesome."
"It’s an outstanding event with lots of music," said Cpl. Derek Norman, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.
At around 7:45 p.m. the color guard marched on the colors as the Combat Center Band played the national anthem. A look around Victory Field showed several Marines standing at attention rendering a salute and family members with their hands across their hearts along side them.
Following the color guard, Combat Center commanding general, Brig. Gen. Douglas M. Stone, gave a speech joined by the base sergeant major.
"Marines are a part of the great America,” said Stone. "What they do, it’s brave and honorable. They fight for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Bringing his granddaughter on stage Stone joked around. "This is a great time to be with our families. There is a lot of little kids running around, if you see this one she belongs to me."
"When I think of the Fourth of July, I think of family and of all the great Americans before us who fought for what they believed in," said Combat Center sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. William Johnson Jr. "Whatever we do today is for the future generation so they can have freedom."
As the night came to a close, the lights on Victory Field shut off and music such as Proud to be an American played. Fireworks lit up the sky marking the event finale and families watched with delight.
"I loved tonight," said Lance Cpl. David Dunlap, Headquarters Battalion. "It was fun and very patriotic."
"This event was great," said Sgt. Mike Kroll, 3/7. "It gave Marines the chance to come out and mix with other Marines. Hosting this event really shows support for what the Marines do."