American Independence Day is “the great anniversary festival,” in the words of founding father John Adams.
“It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more,” Adams wrote.
While many Americans no doubt live up to Adams’ expectations each year, many US soldiers, sailors, Marines, and coastguardsmen have to celebrate the holiday far from home.
Below, you can see photos of the missions and duties that have taken those men and women away from home on July Fourth.
Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Lucas Mclean, assigned to the “Black Knights” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 154, displays his patriotic body art aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), June 30, 2017.
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ian Kinkead/Released
Sailors man a .50-caliber machine gun aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross (DDG 71) as the ship transits the Norwegian Sea, June 29, 2017.
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released
An F-15E Strike Eagle fires flares during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, June 21, 2017.
US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward-deployed in Cold Bay, Alaska, surveys the area around a fishing vessel prior to hoisting three people off near Akutan Harbor, Alaska, February 13, 2017.
US Coast Guard photo
US Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit fire an M777 Howitzer during a fire mission in northern Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, March 24, 2017.
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Zachery Laning
A tactical air-control party member from the 116th Air Support Special Operations Squadron, jumps out of a CH-47 Chinook for a training mission during Red Flag-Alaska 17-2, June 7, 2017, at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Labbe
Soldiers return fire while conducting a town-defense scenario during Saber Junction 17 at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, May 15, 2017.
US Army photo by Spc. Gage Hull
Boomer, the mascot of Coast Guard Station Crisfield, Maryland, sitting on the deck of a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, February 28, 2017. Boomer was rescued from a shelter and reported to Station Crisfield as the mascot in December 2013.
US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasmine Mieszala
A US Marine with 1st Marine Logistics group participates in the water survival advanced course on Camp Pendleton, California, June 14, 2017.
Photo By: Sgt. Rodion Zabolotniy
A soldier demonstrates hand-to-hand combat on a “volunteer” from the crowd during the 6th Ranger Training Battalion’s open-house event, April 29, 2017, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
US Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.
An F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, assigned to Detachment 1, 138th Fighter Wing, dons his helmet in preparation of a barnstorming performance for reporters, February 1, 2017, in Houston.
US Air National Guard photo/Tech. Sgt. Drew A. Egnoske
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), left, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), right, conduct a replenishment-at-sea with the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon, June 30, 2017.
US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob M. Milham/Released
US Army Paratroopers assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade descend onto Juliet Drop Zone in Pordenone, Italy, June 8, 2017, after exiting a US Air Force 86th Air Wing C-130 Hercules aircraft during airborne operations.
Special Operations soldiers fire on an enemy vehicle during a capabilities exercise hosted by US Army Special Operations Command, June 6, 2017, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Airmen from the 41st Helicopter Maintenance Unit push an HH-60G Pave Hawk into a C-17 Globemaster III, May 15, 2017, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.
Sgt. Antuan D. Martin, lead instructor of Raider Reconnaissance Operator Course, instructs Marines on amphibious operations during an exercise aboard Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, June 15, 2017.
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Luke Kuennen