About Our Celebration
The organization was started in 1987 by Ronald Vassar, president and CEO of General Assurance of America, Inc. The company gives a portion of its profits to help support the activities of the American Veterans Tribute. Vassar is also a veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1964 to 1970. Here are his words regarding the foundations of the now traditional event in Richmond, VA.
"When I got out of the military, I knew I had to give back and show appreciation to those that have served and those that have been wounded or lost their lives in service to their country. So I started each July 4th just shooting a few fireworks off my dock at the lake with maybe 20 or 30 boats watching. As time went by, the event just grew, and here we are. It has grown into something I never could have imagined.
The water will be full of boats, and there will be a lot of traffic on the roads leading to the event. It will be a busy area before, during and after the activities, and I encourage everyone to be safe, respectful and watch out for others. We want this to be a memorable event for everyone who attends."
The event begins with a traditional military flyover and parachute landing carrying the veteran or veterans being honored each year. The event hosts live music by our our AVT band, as well as bringing a recording artist of the veteran's choice to perform their favorite songs honoring their military memories. Any requests the veterans may have, such as food, cars, or other needs are met humbly by AVT. There is a ceremonial presentation of AVT's Golden Eagle Award to each honoree and a reflection of mementos of their time of service, and formal processions by those currently serving our country. The night concludes with an amazing show of nearly 100,000 fireworks.
The event carries on the following day with a charity dinner and silent auction. Our veterans are appreciated throughout the event and their service is appreciated to the full extent by all in attendance.