COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Celebrations are underway across the country this 4th of July as we mark 246 years of American independence from Great Britain. The spirit of patriotism was on display at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus.

As folks celebrate our nation, it’s important we honor those who fought for our freedom. The National Infantry Museum’s annual Freedom Fest does just that. It gives military families and the Columbus community a chance to come together with activities for the entire family.

Red flares filled the air as the silver wings made their parachute jump. The final jumper waved the American flag to remind Americans we are the land of the free because of the brave.

From food trucks and water slides to military replicas and historical reenactments, some would say Freedom Fest is the full Independence Day celebration.

For some families, it means even more. The Churchill Family has been in Columbus since February, and after 9 months of deployment, it makes today that much sweeter.

“After missing out on 4th of July’s in the past, because he was deployed it’s just really nice to be together again.”

Aaron and Erin Churchill – Military Family

Events like this allow soldiers to get quality time with their loved ones while also connecting with other military families.

“It’s really special, it’s a special time and it’s important. Especially being around so many people celebrating the 4th of July.”

Angelik & Guillermo Munoz – Military Family

Churchill is on active duty while Munoz is a veteran. What brings them all together, is the pride they share for the USA.

“It’s really special to be around other people that feel as strongly about our country as we do.”

Aaron and Erin Churchill – Military Family

The cannons rang at the top of the hour, while the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band played patriotic tunes.