Fort Rucker offered visitors some early Fourth of July fun during Freedom Fest on Wednesday, July 3, with activities, games, food and more.

Food and craft vendors were able to share their creations with event-goers. Children and families were also able to enjoy a number of different fair rides, like the event’s zipline, and other fun games.

Children were also able to test their endurance on the Confidence Course, which provided several physical fitness obstacles for children to try, and explore an inflatable fun world.

Musical entertainment was also available for those who wanted to relax on the field and enjoy the end of the day. The Maneuver Center of Excellence Band performed a variety of songs from all genres before a massage from Fort Rucker’s commanding general.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (ret.) Scotty Johnson and his family have attended Freedom Fest at Fort Rucker for over 25 years. The family tradition brings about 15 of his family members together to celebrate July 4th.

He and his family said the event was great for individuals of all ages and families.

“(There are) a lot of things for the kids to do,” he said. “Great music. The Army Band is awesome.”

Brenna Johnson echoed his statements, saying, “(It has) good food and fun, great entertainment.”

Military history was also remembered during Freedom Fest with the Historic Color Guard Unit. The unit is led by Steve Lowery and carries historic American flags while wearing military uniforms seen throughout America’s military history.

Joining the unit was Jack Holmes, who carried the 50th Anniversary Vietnam War Commemorative Flag.

A member of the unit also wore a World War II military uniform to honor the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasions during World War II.

Following the presentation of the colors, Fort Rucker and the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence Commanding General Maj. Gen. David J. Francis provided a welcome message to the attendants of Freedom Fest.

“Since the inception of this nation, we have had generations of folks who have stood in the breach to defend our way of life and this idea we call democracy,” Francis said. “We stand here today, the beneficiaries of those.

“Welcome home to the Home of Aviation, where we produce the very best aviators and maintainers, air traffic controllers, that our Army has ever seen. It’s a testament to all of you what we do here at Fort Rucker every day, and we truly appreciate it.”

He recognized the members of Gold Star Families who attended the event, stating they lost family members who “paid the ultimate sacrifice for us” to celebrate the holiday. He also thanked local community leaders and sponsors for their support throughout the year and for Freedom Fest.

Fort Rucker’s fireworks display marked the end of the night and the start of Fourth of July celebrations.

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