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Fourth of July Weekend Salute to Fort Lee's Veterans

A weekly look at historical images and their significance from the archives of the Fort Lee Film Commission and the Fort Lee Historical Society

This 4th of July weekend will be one of sun and warmth, and after the winter of our discontent, both weather-wise and economically, we are due for some fun and frolic. Macy’s will once again provide fireworks to light the night sky over the Hudson, while many towns in New Jersey have had to forsake the fireworks due to tough economic times. 

Here in Fort Lee we will not have fireworks, but we will have a celebration and a community gathering in quite an appropriate place, the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center at 1355 Inwood Terrace.  The late Mayor Jack Alter’s vision built this center in 2005, and he would be proud of its use this weekend as a place to celebrate the 4th of July. Mayor Alter was a history buff and enjoyed the stories of Fort Lee’s role in the American Revolution. He was also a veteran and proud member of the Fort Lee VFW Post.

As we salute our veterans here in Fort Lee, specifically those that fought in World War II, we also salute those that fought in all our wars going back to the American Revolution. Remember, Fort Lee produced some of the first veterans as we were at the crossroads of the American War for Independence back in 1776. Our borough is one of the few in this nation actually named by General George Washington in honor of one of his Generals, Charles Lee. Our statue on Palisade Avenue salutes the courage and bravery of the average American soldier who fought in Fort Lee from the summer of 1776 through the Retreat to Victory on November 20, 1776. Here patriot, writer and American soldier Thomas Paine wrote of "the times that try men’s souls" in his American Crisis – here in Fort Lee. We have much to be proud of as an historic American community, and we have many to thank, most of all the veterans of Fort Lee from the American Revolution to the present. 

On Saturday, the Fort Lee Film Commission will open its 10-week 2011 Movies & Music Under the Stars program on the outdoor stage of the Jack Alter . We will host the Big Band Jumpers Orchestra from 7 to 8:30 PM. They will play Big Band and swing music from the World War II era. Following this performance, we will host a short tribute to newly inducted New Jersey Hall of Fame member U.S. Marine Sergeant John Basilone, a native New Jerseyan.  Sergeant Basilone was a Medal of Honor winner and was killed in action in the battle of Iwo Jima. His niece, Diane Hawkins, will introduce a trailer to a documentary she is working on about her Uncle. Following this screening we will screen the classic John Wayne film Sands of Iwo Jima.

Come out to Movies & Music Under the Stars this Saturday night and celebrate the 4th of July weekend by thanking our Fort Lee veterans.

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