SM: "Happy Fourth of July to you, and Happy Fourth of July to all the lads of the 82nd Airborne."
The sandstorm in Iraq continues, and Michael spends the day with the troops at Forward Operating Base Hammer. There is a softball tournament underway and a good time being had by all.
Happy Independence Day to all the troops, and thank you for your service!
TJ HOLMES: In Iraq, though, they're keeping the spirit of Independence Day alive.
Our international correspondent Michael Ware with the troops at Camp Hammer just outside Baghdad, where Fourth of July celebrations have kicked off.
Michael, we were talking here just a few minutes ago about Iraq there had essentially their own kind of sovereignty or Independence Day on Tuesday. But the soldiers are celebrating American Independence Day now.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right, T.J.
Happy Fourth of July to you, and happy Fourth of July to all the lads of the 82nd Airborne.
We're here at FOB Hammer, which may you guess from the sandstorm and all the sand, is in the deserts in Iraq.
Right now, we've got a softball game going on, on the Fourth of July tournament for the coveted championship, what would it be, a mug or a rock.
What we've got going on right now is a brigade support battalion is playing the 573rd Cav. And just to give you an idea of what it's like here on Fourth of July, here's a soldier I've prepared earlier, 1st Sgt. Muznicki (ph). He's here with the 82nd Airborne.
Sarge, what's it like, Fourth of July? Happy Fourth of July.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is it. This is what it's like. You can't see about -- what? -- 500 feet in front of you. And this is it -- dusty, sandy Iraq. Hot, too.
WARE: So we're going to have a barbecue, hot dogs. What's going to go on? Fireworks? Hopefully not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not in this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We probably won't last long if we shoot up some rockets here.
WARE: So how are the lads celebrating?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we had a -- we will probably have a cookout tonight, and then the softball game all day. And I wish you could film the mess hall; the dining facility is really pimped out with a lot of cool stuff.
WARE: So I saw.
So there's a massive happy Fourth of July cake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there is. There is.
WARE: And bunting and the whole deal. So...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WARE: At least we're giving it a go, hey?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
WARE: Trying to make it feel like Fourth of July.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are. We are. We're trying to do our best.
WARE: And that's what it's like over here, T.J., from the beautifully sandblown FOB Hammer in southeast Iraq.
HOLMES: Well, we appreciate you showing us that. It's interesting to see Fourth of July in -- in Baghdad and in Iraq. I guess you're limited in what you could do with your fireworks there.
But also, on a serious note here with Joe Biden, tell us about how he's going to wrap up his trip. Is Michael still with me?
WARE: Yes, I'm still here, T.J. It's a little bit difficult to hear you, but I'm here.
Yes, that's right; the vice president is here in Iraq. He arrived last evening. He has a number of meetings, obviously, as one would expect, with both American commanders on the ground; members of the U.S. mission; the ambassador, Christopher Hill; and of course, with senior Iraqi officials.
We are obviously, we're not told about how they're going or how they're faring. One thing I do know is that because of the arduous conditions here, plans to host several events at the embassy had to be relocated because they weren't able to chopper him across the city.
But just before we go, I want to give the first sarge a chance to give a bit of a shoutout.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to say happy Fourth of July to my wife, Diane Muznicki. She's probably getting up right now and going to work. I love you very much and I'll be home soon.
WARE: And that's straight from the heart. You -- I couldn't have said it better myself, T.J.
HOLMES: All right. We are glad we could get that in. We appreciate you dealing with those conditions. I know it's tough to hear and see, Michael. But thank you so much. We'll talk to you guys again soon.