The 180,000 U.S. military men and women serving around the world may be spending the Fourth of July outside of the United States but their deployment does not mean they didn’t celebrate.
Stars and Stripes reported on Wednesday that while U.S. military bases in Europe and Japan were on regular daytime duty, the evening brought concerts and fireworks and even car shows.
“U.S. soldiers and their families in Germany got in touch with their inner motorheads during a Fourth of July car and bike show at Grafenwoehr,” Stars and Stripes reported along with a photo of troops checking out a Volkswagen bus.
Troops in Japan celebrated a day early on July 3. The band Fuel headlined a concert at Yokota Air Base but fireworks were canceled because of high winds.
Meanwhile, RAF Lakenheath, England, airmen and families of the 48th Fighter Wing celebrated at Liberty Fest, “an annual event that includes a carnival, car show, food trucks and stalls,” Stars and Stripes reported.
In Kabul, Afghanistan American flags flew at North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Resolute Support headquarters on the Fourth of July.
Stars and Stripes reported Gen. John Nicholson, the U.S.’s top commander in Afghanistan, spoke at a lunchtime event.
“For American servicemen and women who are deployed overseas, this day holds a very special significance, and it reminds us of the tremendous sacrifices made by previous generations of patriots in all of America’s wars in defense of liberty at home and abroad,” Nicholson said.
Stephenie Jonas-Sullivan, a U.S. citizen and adviser to the Afghan Interior Ministry on gender issues, came to the Fourth of July event dressed as the Statue of Liberty, according to Stars and Stripes.
“I’m wearing this because it’s quintessentially a Fourth of July symbol for the United States, and I think it’s an important symbol here because, in our particular office, which is the gender integration office, we are looking for equality and liberty for the women of Afghanistan,” Jones-Sullivan said.
Soldiers spending the holiday in Afghanistan told Stars and Stripes that they are glad to be there.
“It’s an important holiday because we fight for it,” Army Cpl. Ruby Cruz, of the 191st Regional Support Group Forward from Fort Allen, Puerto Rico, said.
Cruz joined her comrades for an American-style barbecue in Kabul on Wednesday.
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