Personal meaning

Families find personal meaning in vacations

Raymond Benitez-Santana/Special for Fort Leavenworth Lamp

SPC. Pupo Hernandez, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks Battalion (Corrections), and his 11-month-old daughter, Estella Hernandez, share ice cream during Independence Day festivities July 4 at Lake Merritt . Photo by Raymond Benitez-Santana/Fort Leavenworth Lamp Special
Fort Leavenworth visitor Raj Kumar dances to music during July 4 Independence Day celebrations at Lake Merritt. A DJ provided the music before the fireworks at dusk. Photo by Raymond Benitez-Santana/Fort Leavenworth Lamp Special

The 4th of July is a time of celebration for families in Fort Leavenworth. The community gathers to commemorate the founding of the United States and watch the fireworks.

For some families, Independence Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices they made in search of a new country that promises opportunity and freedom.

Salvatore Montalbano Sr. and his wife Antoinette visited Fort Leavenworth for the annual 4th of July celebration at Lake Merritt.

They are a first-generation Italian-American family from Sicily who came to the United States 56 years ago. Their daughter, Gina Montalbano, and her husband, retired Major Bryan Zesiger, operate a winery in Leavenworth.

Montalbano said his decision to immigrate worked out well.

“We come from Sicily; my daughter is second generation,” Montalbano said. “No one can beat this country. It’s the best country in the world. I know, I don’t speak (English) perfectly, but I’m fine.

Attendees listened and danced to music provided by a DJ, food stalls were available, and a salute drum set provided the Union salute before the fireworks.

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