Fayetteville holds Independence Day celebration

Fireworks in Fayetteville on Saturday night. Photo by Kelly Kennedy/CBS North Carolina

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — The 4th of July is still a couple of days away, but the celebration started early in Fayetteville.

Independence Day is a holiday that means something different to everyone.

“I think we need to thank our veterans for our freedom and the ones that are serving today it means a lot,” said Debbie Baxley. “They sacrifice a lot.”

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For Baxley it’s personal. She works as a respiratory therapist at the Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg.

“I watch them sacrifice at work,” said Baxley. “(I see) the times they’re away from their family and the things that they suffer from because I work with the veterans and the active duty also at the hospital.”

On Saturday, the military community of Fayetteville kicked off their celebration at Festival Park.

“Fort Bragg being the center of the military universe there’s no better way to celebrate our independence than with our neighbors at Fort Bragg right here at Festival Park,” said Nat Robertson, Mayor of Fayetteville.

For one soldier, it’s a very special Independence Day.

After 24 years serving in the U.S Army, Joseph Santimaw is getting ready to hang up his uniform.

Santimaw says the support from the community is overwhelming.

“It’s kind of humbling,” Santimaw said. “You do what you do. You enjoy it and you don’t really expect any payback or anything, but it’s nice to be appreciated.”

On Tuesday, Fort Bragg will host its 4th of July party with tens of thousands expected to attend.

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