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July 4th fireworks furloughed at Pearl Harbor, other bases

By Jennifer C. Kerr

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 12:46 p.m. HST, Jun 30, 2013

WASHINGTON >> The Fourth of July won't have a patriotic boom in the sky over some military bases, including Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, because budget cuts and furloughed workers also mean furloughed fireworks.

Independence Day celebrations have been 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 has been scrapped at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga.

In Hawaii, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam 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.

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 says the fireworks at Camp Lejeune always were spectacular, and she said that she and her kids, 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 says 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.

Other bases that are 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 has been scrapped. The base plans a smaller "freedom bash" on July 3 with pool games, face painting and bouncy castles.

—New Jersey's Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

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Anonymous wrote:
not a biggie the 4th is for camping and the beach
on June 30,2013 | 08:03AM
allie wrote:
ban these reminders of war and allow the public to examine and discuss the meaning of the Revolution for today.
on June 30,2013 | 08:11AM
mikethenovice wrote:
We can Thank the Republicans for sitting on the sidelines for not allowing the rich to pay their fair share in taxes so the budget can be balanced.
on June 30,2013 | 08:13AM
mikethenovice wrote:
After we thank the Republicans for not funding our country's birthday, we can all go back and hide in our caves as they wish, while they live it up.
on June 30,2013 | 08:14AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Were you an extra in the movie "Atlas Shrugged"? With the sign blaming the rich? Hey, the movie is over. Let it go.
on June 30,2013 | 09:19AM
allie wrote:
Republicans hate America as much as non-whites
on June 30,2013 | 11:44AM
GWakai02 wrote:
But we can spend $100M on a vacation.
on June 30,2013 | 09:00AM
serious wrote:
Yes, surprising that hasn't gotten much press. He spends while the federal workers take a 20% cut. It's called change!!!
on July 1,2013 | 03:31AM
rayhawaii wrote:
It's really too bad all those contractors providing food and services to the ships and making millions each year couldn't donate money to have a fireworks display. If it weren't for the military most businesses wouldn't be in business. Do I need to name a few? Why not? Y Hata, Nan, BAE, the list goes on.
on June 30,2013 | 09:08AM
star08 wrote:
Good point! Back away from the trough. There will be no feeders giving back to the system from whence they arose. Guess the pay-it-forward meme does not exist in MIC.
on June 30,2013 | 09:46AM
nitpikker wrote:
i don't understand why military suppliers can get away with their ridiculous billings. they should be forced to return their illegal profits!! oops! too many shady pols involved!!
on June 30,2013 | 10:55AM
allie wrote:
on June 30,2013 | 11:44AM
jussayin wrote:
that's the right decision with our tight nation budget. fireworks is a 'nice to' requirement; not a 'must do'. having said that, obama goes to africa and spends $100 million. oh well.
on June 30,2013 | 06:53PM
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