GREAT FALLS – On Independence Day we celebrate our freedom and those who serve to protect it. Airmen and their families marked the holiday on Wednesday during the Freedom Fest at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls.
MTN News spoke with people at the Freedom Fest picnic to hear what Independence Day means to them. Here’s what they said:
“Independence Day means to me recognizing the liberties the United States of America gets that other countries don’t, whether that’s just hanging out with family and friends and enjoying a burger and a beer or something. Somehow celebrating the freedoms we have that others don’t get to have,” said 1st Sgt. Wesley Walker of the 741st Maintenance Squadron.
“My entire family, from the immigrants of my family who came from Ireland to my family now, have all been in the Army or Air Force. So, my family kind of has a history of fighting for this country,” explained Kelly Lynch, whose parents served in the military.
“Everyone on this base, and by default in the community, we are here to support the United States and her allies in our position in the world. It’s an important mission we do here at the 341st,” said Colonel Jennifer Reeves, Commander of the 341st Missile Wing.
“They do so much to protect this country and the freedoms we hold so dear, so Independence Day is a really special day for community and camaraderie for us to come together,” said Malmstrom Spouse’s Club president Brittany Vallejo.
“I served 22 years. I recently retired, so it means a lot. Me growing up as an ‘Air Force brat,’ I’m born and bred military, so it means a whole lot to me,” explained Yorshia Houseal, 341st Missile Wing Equal Opportunity Director.
“We are celebrating our freedoms. Being able to be in the military and actually partner with our foreign national community and our allies as well, it’s a wonderful way for us to celebrate and be thankful for what we have locally here, and abroad as well,” said Maj. Samantha Miller of the 341st Missile Wing.
The Freedom Fest wrapped up Wednesday night with a free concert from Easton Corbin and Thompson Square.
There was also a visual display by the Patriotic Laser Light Show.
-Reported by Shannon Newth/MTN News