Pacific edition, Thursday, July 5, 2007

CAMP ZAMA, Japan — Barbecue, trout fishing, fireworks and rock ‘n’ roll.

Those are just a few of the all-American activities members of the Camp Zama community enjoyed during the base’s Independence Day celebration Tuesday at Dewey Park.

About 1,000 soldiers, civilian employees and local Japanese guests came out to the free event, which began early in the morning with a 7-kilometer “Fun Run” and lasted until midnight. Throughout the day, there were a variety of events, including volleyball, face painting, canoeing and a fishing tournament.

“I let him catch the first fish, so that no one thinks the tournament is rigged,” U.S. Army Garrison Japan Command Sgt. Maj. Clinton Jackson said, laughing, as he sat along the edge of the pond with U.S. Army Japan Command Sgt. Maj. William Franklin.

“We just wanted to try and give everyone a little taste of home,” said Patricia Cooper, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation coordinator of the event.

Cooper said MWR decided to hold the event on July 3, a training holiday, instead of July 4 so people could spend the holiday with their family and friends.

It was not just a day to enjoy hot dogs and fireworks. Many took time to think about what freedom means to them.

“Today gives me the chance to reflect on the opportunities and freedoms that I have enjoyed as an American, and as a soldier,” said Col. Robert M. Waltemeyer, the U.S. Army Garrison Japan commander.

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