JOINT BASE LEWIS McCHORD, Wash. -- Major Mike Anders has not always been around for holidays or special occasions.
“I missed the birth of my twins on my last deployment,” said Anders, who returned from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.
This year, he got to celebrate the Fourth of July with his wife and five children at Joint Base Lewis McChord.
“I’m thankful I have my children with me,” said Anders.
Federal budget cuts canceled fireworks and celebrations at some military bases around the country. Corporate sponsorships ensured JBLM’s Freedom Fest would go on.
Mallory Potter brought her sister and two-year-old son, Bently. Her husband, Larry, is in Afghanistan. She’s proud of him and thought celebrating on base would be the best way to honor him.
“We’ve been through probably eight holidays already,” said Potter, whose husband has been deployed for eight-and-a-half months. He is scheduled to return at the end of the month.
Anders said soldiers and their families get used to being apart. It makes the holidays spent together more special and makes time spent overseas worth it.
“You know you’re doing it for a reason. You’re doing it so you can enjoy days like this in the future,” said Anders.