JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD Dressed head to toe in American flag print clothes Army Privates Joseph Pedicone, Thomas Bland and Jacob Ayala marched around Freedom Fest waving an American flag and stopping periodically to pose for pictures with other attendees of the Fourth of July event.
The three friends decided to show off their pride during the all day event hosted at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
I wanted to do it because Im very passionate about the country, Pedicone said. Being overly expressive is a way to show people why this day is so important.
The servicemen werent the only ones showing their country pride July 4. The crowd was peppered with American flag shirts; red, white and blue hair; and faces painted with the stars and stripes.
Its a reminder of the importance of being an American, Ayala said. Its great to show the coming together with everyone showing unity.
When the servicemen werent smiling for pictures, they said they were looking forward to trying the different types of food offered at the event. Ayala expressed interest in sampling some of the fried desserts.
I really enjoy the food, he said. The funnel cakes and elephant ears are good.
Thousands of people from the military and public went to JBLM to enjoy the food, carnival rides, games, music and the Classy Chassis Car Show. But the air show was arguably one of the biggest draws of the day.
Kevin Cates, of Lacy, said the air show enticed him and his family to attend the event.
This is my first time here, Cates said. I like watching the older planes; theyre fascinating.
Cates and his family found a patch of grass near the Splash Park to watch the air show farther from the crowds. They watched eyes fixed on the sky as pilots flew high in the sky then turned the nose down and swooped frighteningly low before pulling up into the air generating applause from onlookers.
Nearby Sgt. Austin Kitchen and his wife Robin sat on lawn chairs with their dog Bear laying in the grass next to them.
Robin Kitchen said she made her husband come to the event and was especially excited to see the different planes.
Some of these planes are so old I cant believe they are still flying, she said.
After watching the different planes do loops in the air and speed across the sky the Kitchens were looking forward to enjoying the Kristian Bush concert held later that evening.
Weve been (on JBLM) for the fourth of July before, but weve never come to Freedom Fest, Kitchen said. They put on a good show here.