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A variety of activities are available to Marines for Independence Day weekend

30 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Natasha S. Rawls Marine Corps Air Station Yuma

July 4, 1776, the United States of America presented Britain with the Declaration of Independence. Since then, Americans have honored July 4 as a day of independence and celebration.

A preteen and teen Fourth of July Fun Fest will be held at the station youth center July 1 and will include water games, dodgeball and a cookout. Those attending must bring a 12-pack of soda.

Several station Marines, sailors and their families also plan to celebrate in a number of different ways, including barbecues and parties.

Cpl. Gena Byrd, Intermediate Maintenance Activity noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, said this Independence Day she hopes to celebrate with friends and family in Phoenix. She said July 4 is one of the most important holidays to her because she has the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on her pride for this country.

"I think that we are really lucky to have been born in America," said Byrd, a Chicago native. "It is the greatest country in the world."

The surrounding community also offers recreational events including a Fourth of July Evening Fireworks Display at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. The gates open at 6 p.m. for games, food and drinks, with free watermelon and entertainment provided. A demolition derby will begin at 8 p.m. and at 9 p.m. a fireworks show will be held.

Also on July 4, at 7:30 a.m., Caballeros de Yuma are sponsoring their 19th Annual Independence Day Flag Raising Ceremony held at the base of the Yuma water tower in Friendship Park at the Ray Crock Complex.

While there are many recreational opportunities offered in Yuma, service members are encouraged to choose those that are safe.

"Marines should always consider the risks before engaging in any activity," said Gunnery Sgt. Martin A. Nelson, safety specialist, station Department of Safety and Standardization and Bubois, Pa., native. "There are going to be a lot of other people on the roads and it is important for Marines to be aware of their surroundings. It takes every Marine to make the team, and it is important to not lose one to a (preventable accident)."

This year, many station and community organizations, including the station Youth Center and Tickets and Tours, offer a variety of events to kick off the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations.

Station Information Tickets and Tours offers a reduced military rate to nine amusement parks, seven adventure parks, two water parks and and 10 cruises; most of which can be attended over the Independence Day weekend.

Sarah McIntire, ITT coordinator, said the park and cruise tickets offer an excellent opportunity for station service members and their families at a reduced price or free.

"This is a great way for families to spend time together, especially for those Marines who recently returned from a deployment," said McIntire. "All of these places are in the southern California area; relatively close."
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