01 July 2008

IAVA and Declare Yourself Sponsor “Celebrating America” July 4th Extravaganza

232 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and their Families Celebrate America’s 232nd Birthday in San Diego

This July 4th, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ group, is cosponsoring “Celebrating America,” an incredible tribute to America’s newest generation of veterans on the deck of the USS Midway in San Diego, CA. In celebration of America’s 232nd birthday, 232 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families will participate in a ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier. Declare Yourself supplied cameras to six veteran members of IAVA to record their thoughts about the United States and the power of voting. Their powerful diaries will be unveiled at the event. In addition, an original copy of the Declaration of Independence, owned by Declare Yourself founder Norman Lear, will be on display and American Idol finalist David Hernandez will perform patriotic songs. The evening will conclude with an elaborate fireworks display.

“‘Celebrating America’ will be an amazing tribute to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. IAVA looks forward to flying in our veteran members from across the country to participate,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “Amidst all of the July 4th cookouts and celebrations, it’s tempting for too many Americans to forget about the men and women serving in harm’s way. The USS Midway tribute is the perfect way to both enjoy the holiday and honor the more than 1.6 million Americans who have served in the current conflicts.”

Andrew Roberts, an Iraq veteran and Veteran Membership Associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, will attend the July 4th celebration and speak at a ceremony honoring the veterans. “I’m thrilled to participate in “Celebrating America” this July 4th,” said Roberts. “The event will be a great celebration for servicemembers, veterans and their families. The festivities will also give the thousands of attendees a chance to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women serving our country.”

“Celebrating America” is being produced in partnership with Declare Yourself, a national nonpartisan, non-profit campaign that energizes and empowers young Americans to vote and Cricket Wireless, which is currently touring the document in 14 cities with an accompanying multimedia exhibit. “We are so pleased to help give voice to veterans’ issues in this critical election year,” said Marc Morgenstern, Executive Director of Declare Yourself.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest group for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A non-profit and nonpartisan organization, IAVA represents more than 95,000 veteran members and civilian supporters in all 50 states.

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