Fort Bragg’s popular July Fourth celebration, which officials estimate draws 50,000 people, is the latest casualty of sequestration.
Officials announced the cancellation of the celebration Thursday.
“We have to make the decisions, whether they’re tough or they’re easy to make those calls,” said Tom McCollum, a spokesman for Fort Bragg. “There are no sacred cows out there.”
The decision was driven, in part, by overtime costs associated with the festivities, he said.
The announcement came as a surprise to many at Fort Bragg and surrounding community. It also kick-started efforts to save the event.
“Everyone understands we’re not upset at Fort Bragg,” said Courtney Boyce, a military wife and member of the Facebook group Operation Save Fourth of July. “We understand why they’re doing it, but it doesn’t take away from the disappointment. This is what makes Fort Bragg Fort Bragg. It’s not just local. It’s like taking a piece of history.”
Brandy Lucas, another military spouse involved with the Facebook group, said the group will explore hosting its own Fourth celebration in a nearby community. She said it has contacted national musical acts and sponsors in case the Fort Bragg celebration can’t be renewed.
Lucas is fairly new to Fort Bragg, but she said she can’t imagine the holiday without a big celebration.
“The Fourth of July, to me, has always been a big thing,” she said.
But Fort Bragg officials left little room for a reversal of their decision.
McCollum said the hurdle was overtime costs, which can run to more than $120,000 and are not reimbursable. He said federal rules prohibit donations from covering those costs.
But Boyce said she and other spouses are working to obtain a lawyer to help find a loophole.
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