PHOTOS: Run, Dodgeball Highlight Fourth of July at USO Kandahar
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Eric Raum and Penn Walker from USO Kandahar sent along these images and comments from their Fourth of July activities.
The USO teamed up with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation department of the military and the base command to throw a Fourth of July celebration on a magnitude we had previously not seen.
The day started early with a 2.36 kilometer run celebrating our 236th year of independence. Over 800 runners donned their official “Happy Birthday, America” t-shirts at the starting line.
The festivities picked up later that morning with the USO featuring their “Rage in the Cage” dodgeball tournament. (See a past “Rage in the Cage” event with a video.) Pitting teams from across all lines of service against one another to decide the final champion, this has become a favorite monthly event. To add a special Fourth of July flair, an additional “last man standing” dodgeball event placed every competitor in the middle of the cage, ultimately leaving one lone champion.
Other events included water balloon toss, paracord bracelet classes (creating tactical bracelets out of 550 cord, used to rig parachutes) and other impromptu competitions throughout the day. USO personnel donned an array of costumes and walked amongst the crowd, amping up the energy and tossing a sneaky water balloon or two at unsuspecting revelers.
"Independence Day is a reminder of the cost of our freedoms as Americans,” said Walker, USO Kandahar Duty Manager (pictured at right). “We celebrate not only to honor the sacrifices made to establish these liberties, but to acknowledge that this great nation is worth sacrificing for. Nowhere does that belief run stronger than in the men and women still committed to those sacrifices in today's armed forces. Today was about having an opportunity to relax and have fun, but it was also a reminder that the faces we see today are the same faces that are fighting to ensure our children and our children's children will be celebrating Independence Day for years to come. "
The MWR hosted a multitude of events including a dunk tank, games of skill and luck and a DJ with karaoke.
"I really enjoyed the chance to come and celebrate here on the Fourth of July,” said SPC Bryan Wood, Kandahar Air Field. “Coming off a small outpost, the holidays can come and go like any other day, sometimes you even prefer it that way, being so far from home. Today was different. Seeing everyone out here and celebrating together, it reminded me of being back home, sitting with my family, watching the fireworks. It is different, but the spirit of the celebration is still there, thousands of miles away."
* The events at USO Kandahar are more examples of how the USO lifts the spirits of troops and their families. Consider donating today to help make more of these initiatives a reality.
* Learn more about the USO's Honor, Salute and Celebrate campaign.
(Photos by Eric Raum. Produced by Christian Pelusi)
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