You could make a movie out of what happened here in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg, NC this Independence Day weekend, but no one would believe it!
Traditionally, we have a full slate of activities to celebrate the birthday of our nation here in America’s Hometown. We love to celebrate freedom, and we spend a long weekend doing just that. On Friday, I wrote about why There’s No Place Quite Like Fayetteville and Fort Bragg for the 4th of July. But, then some events occurred that threatened to derail the whole weekend.
Like every other year, the community planned to cap off our days of celebration with a full day of activities hosted by Fort Bragg on the Main Post parade field. This year, the 82nd Division (Airborne) Band was set to play a program of music followed by an always awesome fireworks display.
Unfortunately, on Friday afternoon, the 82nd Band building caught fire and was completely destroyed! Everything was lost–instruments, uniforms, stands, and even all the sheet music the band would use to play their concert on Sunday evening. All lost, but thankfully all of the band members were accounted for.
According to the Fayetteville Observer, many of the band had only recently returned from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. They’d been practicing for the last month or so for this evening’s performance. Clearly, there would not be a performance this year, although the other events on post would still go on.
But, no small thing like a fire would ever dominate the spirit of our community! The local media put out a notice, and the Band was flooded with offers to help. Over 200 local citizens lent instruments, music and any other help they could, as did the bands of the local high schools and universities! Within a few hours, the 82nd Division Band had all they needed to put on the show.
What a wonderful example of the closeness of the military and the local community of Fayetteville! It really is no surprise, you see, because our community is filled with veterans and their families and with those who have supported them for years. Fayetteville and Fort Bragg are one community, and we treasure our commitment to freedom here.
This evening, starting at about 8:45, the 82nd Division (Airborne) Band will play a wonderful concert featuring Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and John Williams’ “Sound the Bells.” They’ll play from the bottom of their hearts and they’ll be applauded by 40-50,000 citizens from the local community.
Although they’ll be playing on borrowed instruments, ones they are certainly unfamiliar with, the music will sound more sweet than anyone could have imagined. It will be a community concert in the fullest sense of the words!