Even though July 4th is Tuesday, this weekend is the time when we as a nation celebrate our freedom and independence. We spend the time with family, having cookouts, firework’s shows to celebrate our nation’s independence.
But we can’t forget those who made our freedom possible
Typically, I spend this weekend honoring a veteran as a part of the American Veteran’s Tribute (AVT) which will be held Saturday, July 1, 2017. The AVT allocates an entire afternoon and evening to honor a very special veteran who has uniquely served our country.
His family and friends have the invitation to join to honor him in a day of celebration—including the largest amateur fireworks show on the East Coast. The AVT Band (of which I am a member) pays a musical tribute to our honoree, while we focus a full day of attention on our military, freedom, and country.
Join us at Lake Gaston, Virginia for this event
This day of celebration occurs at Gaston Lake, on the Virginia side, in a beautiful cove, with hundreds of boats and thousands of attendees. It is a very special day.
This year’s honoree
Airman First Class William (Bill) A. Robinson is this year’s honoree. Robinson was shot down and captured in North Vietnam on September 20, 1965. He endured 2,703 days in multiple North Vietnamese prison camps.
No enlisted man in American military history has ever been held as a prison of war longer than Bill Robinson. For seven and one-half years, he faced daily deprivations including enduring the full range of North Vietnam’s torture program.
An intriguing book entitled, The Longest Rescue, The Life and Legacy of Vietnam POW William A. Robinson, tells the story of Robinson’s capture and imprisonment. The life he lived as a POW was filled with extremely painful and horrific situations; yet, he demonstrated incredible courage and perseverence as he served both his fellow POW’s and his country valiantly.
We are privileged to honor such an individual—a true American hero, who travels the country still speaking and working with causes for our veterans.
Please remember those who have served our country to keep our independence.
I do hope each of you has a great time of family, friends, food, fireworks and whatever you enjoy this Independence Day.
We also realize that we have many challenges still as a country to help bring independence and freedom to those people whose lives are encumbered and thwarted by difficult circumstances. Addictions, trauma, mental health issues, poverty and other struggles are still part of the continuing fight for so many who need our help. They deserve to achieve their goals in life and find peace in their families and communities.
It is the continued pursuit of our freedom that we all should be committed to. Happy 4th of July weekend.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside