Last year, somebody from our newsroom posted a story about Fort Benning's Independence Day celebration and fireworks show on Facebook and noted that the celebration always occurs about a week before July 4.
This touched off a long spate of comments doubting the commitment of our troops and, of course, blaming President Barack Obama.
Several brave folks pointed out that this was ridiculous. Benning tends to have the celebration early to allow soldiers, who live all over the U.S., to travel to see their families.
Summer is a great time for a road trip.
Which means it's a great time for Trip Advisor, the travel website that invites everyday travelers to rate everything from hotels to activities to restaurants by one to five stars -- or is it owl eyes?
Two years ago, when my family took a circle tour of Lake Michigan, Trip Advisor led us to such gems as Sleeping Bear Dunes, Noah's Ark Water Park in the Wisconsin Dells and a bike tour on Mackinaw Island, as well as memorable meals at Lou Malnati's in Chicago, Georgina's in Traverse City, Mich., and an American Legion fish fry in tiny Wrightstown, Wis.
Last year, we did a quick sweep through the Midwest, and Trip Advisor steered us to City Museum, St. Louis Zoo and Vernon's BBQ in St. Louis, plus Great American Ballpark, Anderson Ferry and Skyline Chili in Cincinnati.
This year, though, we're staying home, which means we're doing something unusual. That would be searching for things to do in Columbus, Ga., our hometown.
And do you know the No. 1 attraction in the whole state of Georgia? It's the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, which is, of course, right here on the outskirts of Fort Benning.
The NIM is ranked above the Savannah Historic District, natural wonders like Anna Ruby Falls in Helen and Brasstown Bald in Blairsville, and anything in Atlanta, including tourist bonanzas such as Georgia Aquarium, Turner Field and World of Coca-Cola.
If you're looking for something to do today, you should head out to the NIM, located off South Lumpkin Road or Fort Benning Road -- take your pick -- and participate in Freedom Fest, which lasts from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Or go to the NIM any day and check out the stunning and inspiring Smithsonian-quality exhibits.
Other local venues earning Trip Advisor's Certificate of Excellence include the Chattahoochee RiverWalk -- from which you can view fireworks at the Phenix City Amphitheater tonight at 9:30 p.m. -- as well as the National Civil War Naval Museum, Columbus Museum, Coca-Cola Space Science Center and Flat Rock Park.
Other excellent options within a short drive of Columbus include the Little White House, Art in Motion Vintage Motorcycle Museum and Warm Springs Winery -- all in Warm Springs -- as well as Callaway Gardens, F.D. Roosevelt State Park and Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari in Pine Mountain; Toomer's Corner and Chewacla State Park in Auburn, Ala.; Hills & Dales Estate and Explorations in Antiquity in LaGrange; Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area in Lumpkin; and Grand National Golf Course in Opelika.
But don't take their word for it. Ask folks you know, and then get out and explore the area for yourself.
And then leave a review on Trip Advisor, so others can benefit from your experience.
Oh, and have fun out there.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.