Crowd comes out to support armed forces at Thunder Over Evans

Published: May. 20, 2023 at 11:56 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Energy was high at this year’s Thunder Over Evans. The evening started with a tribute to Vietnam war veterans.

‘We appreciate the recognition, but more so for the ones that didn’t make it back than for us. We’re the lucky ones. We’re the ones who survived it all,” Vietnam veteran Wilbur Ray Gay said.

It was a night to honor those who fought for our freedom and for families to come out and enjoy good music, food, and fireworks.

“We’ve always encouraged um those who attend to thank the-those who have served when they see someone who’s wearing a veterans hat or what not,” event organizer Shane Thompson said.

In attendance were local ROTC groups, leadership from Fort Gordon, and the next generation of our armed forces.

GA Army National Guard recruiter, Marquita Brown, says all of the support form the community inspires the next generation who she helps train.

“It’s really important I think for the new soldiers just to see how much the community does support the military,” she said.

And back for another year were performers, the party crashers band.

“We’ve seen fireworks everywhere, these are the best ones ever. It’s the most amazing event. That’s why we’re here for a third year in a row. For real though- all the fireworks, all the military support, everything that they do,” they said.

For Wilbur Ray Gay, being honored at such a large event reminds him of how proud he is to be an American.

“Just how wonderful the united states is and how little the people appreciate what we’ve got now. We’ve got a wonderful country that cares about everybody,” he said.

More than 15,000 people showed up tonight and hundreds of people lined the outskirts of Evans Towne Center Park.

This year, Truxler’s Trucker’s vietnam veterans were honored. Organizers say without sponsors and local businesses, putting on this free event ever year wouldn’t be possible.