My Fourth of July memories are steeped in patriot celebration. Growing up in Georgia’s Coastal Empire, we lived near several military installations, including Parris Island, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. My father, a full-time Georgia Air Guardsman at the time, would join with our mother to pack up us three children in the family vehicle with some lawn chairs and a cooler, and off we’d go to watch the annual fireworks display held on the parade deck. The Depot’s Independence Day celebration at the time was simple yet kind of solemn in its way. While the sun gradually sank in the sky, creating its own magnificent natural display of color as a prelude, a Marine Corps band would play patriotic music while visitors angled for a good spot on the grass. I don’t remember a speaker or a program, just a common understanding that all of us gathered were there to share in the joy of freedom. There might have been one lone beer truck that enticed my father to enjoy a libation, but that was about the only concession to a more “festive” atmosphere that I recall. At some appointed time prior to nightfall, we started to hear the cadence of drill instructors march their trainees in seemingly perfect formations to assemble on the parade deck. Those formations were very much a part of the spectacle, an impressive display of military order and discipline made up of future Marines destined to join the ranks of their predecessors who fought to protect the freedoms we were there to celebrate. The fireworks capped off the evening with spectacular explosions of color as I craned my neck to see every flicker of light. When it was all over the hundreds of trainees trooped back to their barracks in an orderly fashion as the visitors ambled back to their vehicles, all of us together reminded that we are part of an American tradition so much larger than ourselves.
We at VAUSA are blessed to serve the best clients in the world in the greatest country in the world, a nation whose ideals as enshrined in our founding documents continue to inspire all who embrace them. From our team of leaders, assistants, and their families, we wish all of you a safe, healthy, and happy Fourth of July celebration.