Fireworks lit up the sky over Fort Bragg on July 4th this year.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -
Thousands of people gathered on Fort Bragg Friday night for a return of the Army post’s annual Independence Day celebration.
Organizers expected 45,000 to 60,000 people.
It is just the military atmosphere that draws veteran Dennis Bracht to Fort Bragg year after year.
"Just to be out with the rest of the troops. I mean I enjoy being on Fort Bragg," Bracht said. "I've been coming out here…”
Bracht paused and admitted he has come to Ft. Bragg for so many years on July 4th that he could not remember how many.
Last year, however, the food, the kids activities and the live music on Fort Bragg were canceled because of automatic spending cuts called sequestration.
"We were upset because we thought that Fayetteville was the All American city, and we were really excited about being here, and then it was hard to find out where to go," explained Mary Minichiello who was on Fort Bragg for the celebration Friday.
She and Bracht said they found the city of Fayetteville did step in with its own celebration, but it just was not quite the same.
"It wasn't as many bounce castles and kids stuff and vendors,” Minichiello said. “This is more for the family and military support."
On a day when we celebrate our independence, military spouse Charlene Fann said there is no place she would rather be than a military base, particularly Fort Bragg.
"One of the things that's very strong in mine and my husband's heart is being able to support our local community, and anything we can do to stay here in Fayetteville or Cumberland County, that's what we want to do," Fann said.
She hopes she will never need to find an alternative like last year.
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>