McGuire Dix Lakehurst Joint Base Cancels July 4th Fireworks Due to Furloughs – Does it Matter to You? [POLL]
The Fourth of July just isn’t the Fourth of July without a good, old fashioned fireworks display.
It’s also been a sort of tradition at the McGuire Dix Lakehurst Joint Base each year, so as to allow civilian guests to be able to not only view the fireworks; but allow them to develop an appreciation for what goes on at the base.
This year, not so much; as the fireworks display has become a victim of sequestration.
And in plain English, that sucks!
Federal sequestration has claimed this year’s fireworks celebration at the joint base as its latest victim, as many civilian employees needed to host the large undertaking will be furloughed starting in July.
The time-honored event typically draws thousands to the military installation for a night of entertainment capped by a fireworks display, but base officials announced Monday that the festivities have been canceled because of budget constraints.
About 5,200 of the 6,700 members of the base’s civilian workforce will be furloughed for 11 days starting in July, officials said.
In a written statement, joint base officials said the decision to cancel the celebration came after the U.S. Department of Defense’s recent announcement requiring furloughs.
“The joint base relies heavily on the expertise the civilian workforce brings to the table,” a statement on the cancellation reads. “In this instance, the Fourth of July celebration would require extensive resources and the support of the joint base’s civilian employees to host the event.”
The postponement of the fireworks follows a number of other cancellations, including military open houses, air shows, flyovers, orientation flights, and service aerial demonstration team performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Army Golden Knights and others, according to the statement.
The announcement was met with immediate disappointment on social media networks after the base posted information on its official Facebook page.
“There are so many more efficient ways the federal government could be saving money. Military sequestration should not be one of them,” a Florence resident said.
Another woman, whose husband is deployed, said it was disappointing and she worried about morale in light of other special events being canceled. Others said they would have volunteered or paid to attend if that were an option.
Base officials said it was a difficult decision since the annual celebration gave the installation “an opportunity to show our appreciation to the surrounding communities and celebrate the birth of our great nation.”
After Sept. 11, 2001, when base security was heightened, it was one of the few times a year that the public could enter the sprawling installation.
“It also provided the joint base with an opportunity to highlight the active-duty, reserve and guard service members of the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, who ensure total force integration by training, supporting and sustaining global contingency operations from the joint base,” the statement reads.
You have to figure with the way this government spends money, if there are folks willing to volunteer their time and expertise to putting on a fireworks show; then why not just let them.
Or see if there’s anywhere else in the military budget cuts can be made so that this once a year celebration can go on!
I know it may seem trivial, but to me, while the show is largely symbolic, cutting out a fireworks display at a joint Army-Navy-Air Force installation on the 4th is a slap in the face!