Military members and their families at North Carolina's Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune are scratching their heads after the base would not reverse its decision to cancel its fireworks display despite a Pennsylvania company offering to do it for free.
In early May, the government announced the fireworks would be cancelled at both Camp Lejeune and Fort Bragg. Back then, budget cuts known as sequestration were blamed.
"During a period in which federal employees are scheduled to be furloughed due to sequestration, expending limited funds and paying personnel overtime to manage a non-mission essential event just didn't seem a prudent use of finite government resources in [General Thomas Gorry]'s mind," Nat Fahy, a spokesperson with Camp Lejeune, said at the time.
But when the Zambelli Family from Pennsylvania, which has put on the display for the base before, heard about the cuts, it offered to do the show for free.
The government turned them down.
Why? Because there are too many other costs associated with putting on the display that don't involve just the fireworks.
And that seems to be in line with other stories. WFAE-RADIO reported the same thing earlier this week, even saying that the city of Jacksonville, North Carolina (where Lejuene is located), offer to front the bill for the fireworks, too:
Fahy says the city of Jacksonville offered to cover the cost of fireworks – about $25,000. But that still left the base short $75,000 for other expenses like security, food and paying staff overtime to host 20,000 people.
Still, some military families aren't happy.
“It’s a load of crap," veteran Mark Bergman told KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh. "We sacrifice everything, our time with our families. We dedicate ourselves to our jobs, and we do it better than anybody else in the world.”