With a small American flag in hand or wearing a piece of read, white and blue clothing, thousands spent the Fourth of July at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center for Freedom Fest.
The grounds were filled with live music, Civil War era demonstrations, bouncy houses for the children, a Pint-Sized Patriot Parade and other events for the museum's third annual community-wide Independence Day celebration.
Near the Walk of Honor, Krystal and Sean Hassett of Fort Mitchell, Ala., were putting the final touches on their daughter's wagon for the 2 p.m. parade. Krystal said her 2-year-old daughter, Ryann, couldn't miss the event this year after taking top prize last year.
"She enjoys red, white and blue," her mother said. "She won first place last year. We have to do it."
Krystal said she and her friend decorated the wagon and Ryann's grandmother made her a colorful tutu.
Tonia Boone said she looked forward to the event after moving back to the area from Dallas.
"They used to have it on main post and I loved it," she said.
Boone said she brought here daughter and granddaughter to the event to let them experience it.
"I wanted to show them what it was all about," she said. "I was raised in the military so I'm all gung-ho. I'm for America. My husband was a veteran."
Boone was gazing toward the west side of the museum as volunteers for the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus fired the cannon every hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cynthia and Anthony Blankenship were at the museum visiting with their son, Capt. Chase Blankenship, but the family didn't make it past the food vendors before grabbing hot dogs for all.
"We are here for the Fourth of July festivities," said Cynthia, wearing a colorful red, white and blue top. "We've gotten as far as the food so far."
One of the biggest crowds along the Walk of Honor watched Lizzie Benecke of iK9 in Auburn, Ala. The canine training company demonstrated how three dogs, Chance, Gunner and Grace Kelly, could help soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. Since March 2014, the company and two others were selected by the Veterans Affairs to prove the effectiveness of dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD.
The study will be completed in two to three years. Studies already show that dogs can be trained to alert people to seizures and low blood sugar.
"We are hoping and praying that these dogs are in indeed effective in relieving symptoms of people with PTSD," Benecke said.
So far, the company has trained eight dogs. A dog was paired last week with a veteran taking part in the study. The veteran called Benecke and said he slept until 6 a.m., which hadn't occurred in years with the trained dog.
Benecke said the company also does private training. Dogs used in the training include German shepherds, golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers.
"We want to let people know that his program is training dogs to be service dogs," she said.