• July 31, 2014

July 4th fireworks scrapped at a number of bases

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Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:58 am, Mon Jul 1, 2013.

WASHINGTON — The Fourth of July won’t have a patriotic boom in the sky over some military bases because budget cuts and furloughed workers also mean furloughed fireworks.

Independence Day celebrations were canceled at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base and at the Army’s Fort Bragg, both in North Carolina. The annual July Fourth celebration also was scrapped at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga.

The reason is money — namely the lack of it.

The failure in Washington to follow up a 2011 budget pact with additional spending cuts meant $85 billion across-the-board cuts that began in March. Budgets tightened, the military took a major hit and many federal workers absorbed pay cuts through forced furloughs.

When the decision was made to forgo fireworks at Camp Lejeune, the commanding general, Brig. Gen. Thomas Gorry, said the cancellation would “ensure that we can mitigate the fiscal challenges we are currently facing.”

Last year’s Independence Day at the base cost about $100,000, including $25,000 for the fireworks.The big issue is paying the overtime to personnel for security, transportation, logistics and safety.

Base officials said they couldn’t justify paying overtime when federal workers are losing pay while furloughed.

Brandy Rhoad Stowe said the fireworks at Camp Lejeune always were spectacular, and she said she and her children, ages 3 and 9, will miss them this year.

“I know fireworks might seem silly to other people,” Stowe said in an interview. “But what is the Fourth of July without fireworks?”

Her husband is a master gunnery sergeant with seven combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

Stowe said she understands the budgets cuts but still feels a little shortchanged.

“It’s just a bummer for the kids,” she said. “It’s like the Grinch stealing Christmas.”

Marines and their families at Lejeune will instead be able to participate in some free activities — golf, bowling, skeet shooting, archery and movies.

At Fort Hood, the fireworks show will take place again this year, despite a 75 percent cut in spending for the annual Freedom Fest celebration. The fireworks will be funded by the money the post residents saved in non-appropriated funds through Fort Hood's  recycling program.

Other bases canceling ceremonies to mark the nation’s birthday:

  • Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, where the annual Jammin’ July 4th put on by the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw and local city and county officials was scrapped. The base plans a smaller “freedom bash” Wednesday with pool games, face painting and bouncy castles.
  • The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, which is scaling back by canceling the fireworks and instead hosting a daytime celebration featuring the Pacific Fleet Band and the Air Force Band of the Pacific.
  • New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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4 comments:

  • Kevin posted at 12:11 pm on Mon, Jul 1, 2013.

    Kevin Posts: 7

    The fireworks should continue. The service men and women endure many hard-ships and should be allowed to enjoy some fireworks with their families. As for people complaining about Government workers being laid off 8 hours a week, I've seen MANY Government employees wasting many hours talking, visiting and socializing during business hours. If a production manager actually tracked hour many "productive hours" a Government employee actually worked, it would be far less than the 32 hours they are now going to get paid for. Servicemen and women work more hours for less pay and benefits, and you don't hear them complaining......

     
  • barbie500 posted at 11:05 am on Mon, Jul 1, 2013.

    barbie500 Posts: 128

    When you overspend and have to cut the budget you trim the fat. People now a days don't know what it is to budget. They say we don't have money to pay the house payment or the electric bill, but they are eating out 4 or 5 times a week. Our government doesn't know how to budget either, they still give money overseas and cut spending here.

     
  • Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er posted at 7:14 am on Mon, Jul 1, 2013.

    Proud Mother of an Army Avi8er Posts: 202

    Can the US afford to have fireworks displays. We can't continue to go on as usual.
    When workers are having to take furloughs then I think all military installations should "scrap" the fireworks displays.

     
  • R and B posted at 6:52 am on Mon, Jul 1, 2013.

    R and B Posts: 4

    Obama is replacing the 4th of July with Ramadan.