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Redstone Arsenal gate.
Redstone Arsenal gate. (Joe Songer,

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — With fireworks, food vendors, a kids zone and a “cruise in” show for cars, trucks and motorcycles, it’s shaping up as one of the biggest free parties in Huntsville since the start of the pandemic.

Free to the public just outside Gate 9, the main entrance to the base, the Friday night party is officially to celebrate the Army’s 246th birthday. But it’s also “a kickoff for us to start getting back to that new normal past COVID,” Redstone Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor said.

“We have opened most of the facilities on the base as far as infrastructure goes,” Mellor said. But most arsenal workers — 70-80 percent — are still telecommuting.

The Army was officially established June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of expert riflemen into the American Continental Army. The Navy was formed a few months later, and the Marine Corps a few months after that, all in 1775.

So, why a big street party? It’s to recognize the importance of the community to the base and the base to the community.

“We absolutely couldn’t do this without Huntsville being there and support the Army as much as they do on Redstone Arsenal,” Mellor said referring to the base’s multiple defense missions. “We like to think of ourselves as Team Redstone and that team is nothing without the people of Huntsville and Madison.”

Mellor said he’s lived in 19 different places around the world and the United States, “but I’ve never seen anything like the support we get on a daily basis.”

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC.


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