MCLB-Albany DOUGHERTY COUNTY, GA (WALB) - The Marine Corps helped South Georgia kick off the July 4th holiday.
Each year the Marine Corps Logistics Base opens the gates to the community.
On Thursday night thousands of sough Georgians flocked to the Base for fireworks and more.
For everyone who showed up at the MCLB-Albany the 4th no doubt, had special meaning.
But for the Marines it was extra special.
"Fourth of July is definitely special to me," said Sgt. Jeffrey Cooley, U.S. Marine.
"It's really important to me," said Cpl. Dennis Evangelista, U.S. Marine.
"I Think it's tremendous especially at a time like this where we're in conflict," said Cooley.
With a country at war many Marines understand why the work they do is especially important.
"We fight for everyone and to keep Americans safe, so it's a celebration of what we do and of our country," said Cpl. Jason Boeras.
"I'm very thankful for the freedom we have in this country," said Sgt. William Nessola.
That's why Miss Georgia was honored to make her first public appearance at the South Georgia celebration.
"My two favorite things to do are anything involving troops and anything involving kids, because they both appreciate it the most," said Emily Cook, Miss Georgia 2009.
Cpl. Jason Boeras certainly appreciates it, plus the fact that we all have freedom to practice our religious beliefs.
"I'm a Marine but I'm Christian first, and we're live in a country where we are free to worship God and whatever God we choose to worship and that means a lot to me," said Boeras.
"If definitely marks the independence of the 13 colonies," said Cooley.
And with a bang this weekend a lot of Americans will celebrate.
"It's something that shouldn't be taken lightly it's something a lot of people lost their lives for," said Sgt. Phillip Costello, U.S. Marine.
"I goof off with the guys I do every now and then, I say thank you for serving so I can do goofy things like pageants, because it is so true because of the work they're doing both abroad and here at home," said Cook.
The Marines say it's just what they do.
"It's what we do, Marines fight for freedom," said Nessola.
Last year roughly 10,000 people showed up for the celebration, the base expected 12,000 visitors this year.
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