Thousands turn out for salute to troops

Video highlights of the Thunder Over Augusta celebration.
  • Follow Metro

Justin Heckel smiled as he talked about the appreciation he had been shown Saturday during the inaugural Thunder Over Augusta.

Spectators watch as fireworks erupt over the Fifth Street bridge in Augusta on Saturday evening during the Thunder Over Augusta celebration, which honored the armed forces.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Spectators watch as fireworks erupt over the Fifth Street bridge in Augusta on Saturday evening during the Thunder Over Augusta celebration, which honored the armed forces.

"I've had a couple of people shake my hand and tell me, 'Thank you,' " said the National Guard private second class. "That makes you feel good. It means that the community appreciates what we are doing here at home and overseas."

Another private second class, Andrew Francis, shared the sentiment.

"It does mean a lot to you. It helps to keep our morale high," he said.

The event, organized to salute area armed forces, was held at the Augusta Common, the Botanical Gardens and the Old Depot in downtown Augusta.

It featured military exhibits, a helicopter display, local JROTC units, dog attack demonstrations, several interactive activities and performances by Lee Greenwood, the Signal Corps Band and local groups. A fireworks display ended the event.

Janette Ouzts's family, of Edgefield, S.C., was among the thousands who attended.

"Events like this give us an opportunity to show our support for our troops and for our country," she said. "Though I don't have any family in the military, I support and love (the troops) just as if they were my family."

Norma Fabian, of Augusta, also attended with her family.

"It's good to see the community come together and have fun and show that we stand behind our military 100 percent," she said. "They put their lives on the lines every day for American citizens, and they don't always get the respect they deserve. By attending this, we are showing how much we care."

National Guard Pvt. Nichole Hall said she was most touched by the reactions she received from children.

"They're excited to see the exhibits and learn about what we do," she said. "Even when we're walking by, you can hear them say, 'Look, there's a soldier,' and it reminds you of why we do what we do. It reminds us that we are protecting that kid's future and freedom so they can grow up and be what they want to be in life. For me, there's no greater feeling in the world than that."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (10) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
karmakills123
8
Points
karmakills123 05/18/08 - 03:28 am
0
0
It was a wonderful event !!

It was a wonderful event !! Good job by all who organized it!!

Ole School
1
Points
Ole School 05/18/08 - 05:59 am
0
0
YEAh great Job , now if you

YEAh great Job , now if you would PLEASE go show those ... people at the arena a little of how to ......

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 05/18/08 - 06:08 am
0
0
A phenomenal salute to

A phenomenal salute to America's greatest and most unique asset. It was an enjoyable day for all in my family. THANK YOU MILITARY

christian134
1
Points
christian134 05/18/08 - 06:34 am
0
0
Shake the hand of every

Shake the hand of every serviceman or woman and thank them each time you meet them....Thank you so much for everything you all have done in the fight for our freedom...May God bless each and everyone as well as continued blessings and comfort for the families left behind...

wire99
0
Points
wire99 05/18/08 - 08:21 am
0
0
A great family event! What a

A great family event! What a way to spend a beautiful Saturday!

confederatelady319
0
Points
confederatelady319 05/18/08 - 08:51 am
0
0
to does it really

to does it really matter--everyone has moments of insanity--yesterday was mine. sorry.

reb007
1
Points
reb007 05/18/08 - 09:00 am
0
0
dbs319,, Seems like there's

dbs319,, Seems like there's always someome like you that would spoil everything. Maybe you should move to China.

confederatelady319
0
Points
confederatelady319 05/18/08 - 02:22 pm
0
0
excuse me! my rant was to

excuse me! my rant was to just say that representing the confederate solider was deeply frowned upon yesterday! i have apoligized more or less. i did seem to ramble way off the subject but frankly i do not care what you think. you have no clue about what i feel or how important those who are fighting for our freedom means to me. i'll just overlook your stupid remark and rant and rave when i want to! i might not always be right, but lord knows, i won't be by myself!

VoteRepublican
0
Points
VoteRepublican 05/18/08 - 04:55 pm
0
0
About time Augusta showed

About time Augusta showed appreciation for the military. Now, business owners around the area need to offer military discounts, there need to be yellow ribbons around the town, and "Military Welcome" signs posted in bars and restaurants. Visit any other military community and you will find all of these things....WHY not here? It was a GREAT event- Well done. It was a shame that the Gold Star Mom's were not mentioned or recognized in any way. I had the honor of escorting a local mom that lost her son in Iraq and asked if an announcement could be made to recognize her sacrafice but noone showed any interest in making this happen what-so-ever. A sheriff's deputy guarding the VIP entry point (over weight and smoking a cigarette) seem less than interested in my inquiry - SHAME ON HIM! I asked if I could approach someone that could make this happen but he could care less and was RUDE!

XXYY
27
Points
XXYY 05/18/08 - 07:13 pm
0
0
Great Story. The reporter

Great Story. The reporter has one thing wrong in the story. It should have said Private First Class and not Private Second Class. The Army doesn't have such rank as Private Second Class.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Mayor's race historic, controversial

Hardie Davis is still waiting to take office after winning a mayoral race that featured no white candidates and saw one of his opponents drop out the day before the election.
Search Augusta jobs