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Military Appreciation Day

Event honors servicemembers at Fort Steilacoom Park, May 15

The City of Lakewood hosts a military celebration day to honor members of the 2nd Stryker Brigade. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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The City of Lakewood and the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) will host a "Military Appreciation Day" at Fort Steilacoom Park, May 15. The event honors members of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord-based 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division  (2-2 SBCT).

According to a release from the City of Lakewood, planners currently expect an estimated 3,500-4,000 soldiers and their families to attend.

The event, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is open to community members and anyone who wants to show their appreciation to the Armed Forces. Both admission and event parking are free.

The celebration will offer attendees a "SummerFEST-like atmosphere," according to the press release. There will be a public market, food vendors, a car display, a "kid zone" play area, live music and a variety of fitness competitions.

This celebration is part of the 16th Annual National Military Appreciation Month. Military Appreciation Month began in 1999 with a resolution sponsored by Sen. John McCain, (R-AZ) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA),  along with more than 50 veteran service organizations.

The 2-2 SBCT - the Lancer Brigade - is paired with the City of Lakewood as part of JBLM's Community Connector program, which pairs military units stationed in the South Sound with local cities. The program is meant to bridge the "civil-military divide" by increasing communication between soldiers and their civilian neighbors.

Commanders from participating units serve as representatives to their partnered communities and attend local community meetings and events. In return, communities can request a variety of support from their partnered units, most often honor and color guards, marching units, guest speakers for events or community leader visits and tours on base.

Several other JBLM units and South Sound communities participate in the program. The 3rd SBCT is partnered with the city of Lacey; the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade is partnered with the cities of Tacoma and University Place; the 17th Field Artillery Brigade is partnered with the cities of Olympia and Tumwater; the 555th Engineer Brigade is partnered with the city of Roy; and the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade is partnered with the city of Gig Harbor to name a few.

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