Vista, CA – For more than 46 years, the City of Vista’s Independence Day celebration has been one of the city’s most anticipated annual special events. This year’s edition will include military honors, a concert by The Mar Dels, and fireworks. The City’s celebration will be presented at the Moonlight Amphitheatre. The city has selected to honor Major General Thomas G. Lightner United States Army, Retired and Sergeant Major Joseph “Jay” Parker United States Marine Corps, Retired. Joining the City in presenting Vista’s Independence Day Celebration are lead sponsors Datron World Communications, Inc., Dick Miller, Inc., Dr. Bronner’s, and Watkins Wellness.
The Independence Day Celebration schedule at the Moonlight Amphitheatre includes the military salute at 7:15 p.m., The Mar Dels performing at 7:35 p.m., and the fireworks display at 9 p.m. The Amphitheatre opens at 5 p.m. Admission to the Amphitheatre is $5 per person. Admission for children five and under, active and retired military members and their family are free. Parking in the park is $15 per car and $30 per recreational vehicle.
· 7:00 a.m.: Brengle Terrace Park, 1200 Vale Terrace Drive
· 5:00 p.m.: Moonlight Amphitheatre opens
· 7:15 p.m.: Military and Sponsor Recognition Ceremony on-stage at the Amphitheatre.
· 7:35 p.m.: The Mar Dels.
· 9:00 p.m.: Fireworks.
· The Mar Dels resumes playing following fireworks until 10:00 p.m.
· Call 760.643.5262 or visit cityofvista.com for more information.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages may be brought into the park. Alcohol cannot be brought into the Moonlight Amphitheatre but is for sale at the theatre’s Luna Café.
The City of Vista recognizes and appreciates its other sponsors of this year’s event, including Aldrich CPAs, Atomic Investments, Inc., EDCO Waste and Recycling, Fresh Creative Foods, Pacific Marine Credit Union, and Tri-City Medical Center.
The City reminds park visitors to keep household pets at home and secured during the event.
ABOUT THE MILITARY HONOREES:
Major General Thomas G. Lightner
United States Army, Retired General (Tom)
Lightner, a native of Haymarket, Virginia, graduated from Osbourn High School in 1954. He subsequently attended the College of William and Mary graduating in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. He was commissioned a second lieutenant, Field Artillery, in the US Army through the ROTC program. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in Management from Central Michigan University. He worked briefly for the Mutual of New York Insurance Company in New York City before entering active duty. Tom retired from the US Army in 1991 after more than 32 years of service in various command and staff positions at numerous military installations and headquarters in the United States and overseas. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam as well as multiple assignments in Germany and Hawaii. He was a highly experienced Field Artillery officer commanding units at every level from battery to division artillery, to include combat operations in Vietnam, as well as instructional and research and development assignments. Tom’s military education included attendance at the United States Army Command and General Staff College and the United States Army War College as well as the Harvard University Program for National and International Security. His last assignment just prior to retirement was as Commanding General, US Army Security Assistance Command. In this capacity, Tom was responsible for the management of the Army portion of the President’s security assistance and foreign military sales program valued at over $50 billion and extending to 106 countries around the world. General Lightner was involved extensively in supporting coalition forces during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. General Lightner received numerous awards and decorations during his career including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medals and several foreign decorations. Following his retirement in 1991, General Lightner worked as a consultant for several defense industry firms including Raytheon Corporation and TRW Corporation. In 1993, he joined Coleman Research Corporation as a Vice President. While with Coleman Research, later a subsidiary of Thermo Electron Corporation, General Lightner managed various business sectors involving energy, environmental and information technology development and support to industry and government agencies. Tom now resides in Vista, California (San Diego County) with his wife, Carol, where he enjoys spending time with his son Jeff and daughter Julie and three grandchildren. For the past seven years, Tom has served as Chairman, Turn Around for Veterans program, sponsored by the San Diego Woodturners, that provides woodturning instruction as a form of mental and physical therapy for our wounded veterans in the San Diego area.
Sergeant Major Joseph “Jay” Parker
United States Marine Corps, Retired
Sergeant Major Joseph “Jay” Parker was born on May 2, 1918 in West Virginia. During his youth, Jay left home in search of employment and traveled around the county by train on empty boxcars. For 36 years, Jay served in the United States Marine Corps and retired as a Sergeant Major. He was in several battles during World War II and the Korean War. Years later, Jay received the Purple Heart medal after being wounded by sniper fire during the Korean Conflict. Jay also served on a special commission for the United States Secretary of Defense. Following Jay’s military career, he was the top wrangler on a large cattle ranch in Nebraska, managed a furniture store and an office supply business. After traveling the world, Jay has spent his retirement years in the City of Vista; and even in retirement, Jay did not know how to slow down. From 1996-2000, Jay was a member of the Sheriff’s Department Senior Volunteer Patrol, working more than 8,600 hours. He recruited many new members and established techniques still in use today. Jay also volunteered in the City of Vista’s Code Enforcement Division, patrolling City parks, reporting code violations and graffiti, and assisting members of the public with requests. In 2017, Jay brought an idea to the City of Vista and the Vista Village Business Association to line Main Street in Historic Downtown Vista with United States flags on major holidays. To assist with this patriotic effort, Jay recruited young Marines in North County.
ABOUT THE MAR DELS
Since 1982 this popular seven-piece group has been performing dynamic renditions of the best music from the 50’s – 70’s. The band has expanded its repertoire to include select hits from the 80’s and 90’s as well as swing standards from the 40’s. Great music, top notch entertainment, The Mar Dels are legendary not only for this, but also for their ability to whip a crowd up into a dancing frenzy while playing the hits of Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam and Dave, Buddy Holly, Van Morrison, Whitney Houston, Patsy Cline, Steppenwolf, Frank Sinatra, Glen Miller, The Doors, The Ventures, The Platters, The Stones, The Stray Cats, The B-52’s, and The Village People.