While Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s fireworks are always a marvel, typically they are held at W.P.T. Hill Field. This year, things would be different. In a location ravaged by Hurricane Florence less than a year ago, service members and their families flocked to the beach for a day of festivities, activities and fun. With early beach goers arriving at 9 a.m., the crowds grew throughout the day.
Despite the rain, thousands of people came out to celebrate the holiday in good spirits. According to Yolanda Mayo, Deputy Operations Officer for Marine Corps Community Services Lejeune-New River, “The Fourth of July is about more than fireworks,” Mayo said. “It’s about Marines, Sailors and their families. We are celebrating our biggest attribute.”
Food trucks filled the pavilion parking lot, while military personnel and volunteers lined the streets. A sea of red, white and blue clad patrons were stretched over miles of beach. A stage was erected to host a variety of events. Contests and music were played during the day. Sgt. Joshua Lobue , 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, winner of an air guitar contest, received a prize of his very own Rockstar guitar.
As the evening continued, a live show began at 7 p.m. featuring singer-songwriter and U.S. Marine Corps Col. Mike Corrado, Marine Force Reserves, and his band. When asked how he felt about playing at the same base where he is currently stationed, Corrado stated, “It’s an honor playing for Marines and their families. In the wake of Florence… I am excited to be playing for the home team.”
Following the concert, it was time for the breathtaking fireworks display. Beginning at 9 p.m., the night sky was painted vibrant colors which were visible across Onslow Beach. The display captured the crowd’s attention and cheers were heard during and after. Many of those in attendance stated they hoped next year’s festivities would be held at the beach again.
“It was a great event,” Mayo said.