Veterans recall what July 4 means to them

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Fourth of July is a holiday that invokes many emotions among veterans.

Bobby Ludlum of Bladenboro, who retired from the U.S. Air Force with 31 years of service, said it is a very important holiday to him.

“It means a great deal to me. It is a very important holiday to me,” said Ludlum.

He said it is a time when he reflects on those who have served and those who have paid with the ultimate sacrifice.

“I think about Arlington Cemetery,” said Ludlum.

He said that at the time he joined the Air Force it was more of a financial concern, but as he learned more about the Air Force, he quickly became enamoured with it. Ludlum said he retired in 1991 at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

“It’s is hard to believe it has been almost 25 years (since retirement),” said Ludlum.

Since retiring form the Air Force, Ludlum has stayed busy and stayed involved in the community with many activities including the Bladen County Board of Elections as well as his involvement with the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the the local chapter of the Disabled Veterans of America.

Ludlum also serves as the president of the Col. Earl E. Frink Military Museum in Bladenboro.

“We’ve improved it a quite a lot,” said Ludlum.

He said there are now displays for each branch of service as well as a display for POW and MIAs and Barry Bridgers flack jacket is also on display.

“There are tables set up for a POW like they do at all the military banquets,” said Ludlum.

He said the museum will be open on Saturday for the Fourth of July from 2 until 4 p.m. It will also be open Sunday, July 5, from 2 until 4 p.m. and during the week it is open from 10 a.m. until noon.

Ludlum said the next special event planned at the military museum will take place on Veteran’s Day in November.

Fellow Air Force veteran Tiina Mundy said that her service is something she is quite proud of and the Fourth of July holiday is one that is very important to her.

“I am indebted to them (that served). Some have given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Mundy.

She added that the Fourth of July is a time of reflection and thinking about those who have served and those who are currently serving. Mundy said it is a time to be reminded of those who have fought our wars in the past.

She added that service in the military is something that is in her family.

“My mother is from Finland and I have family that served over there. I’m from Iowa and service is important,” said Mundy.

She said that while she had a family history of military service, Mundy also became interested when she got the opportunity to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy.

She added that we owe a great deal to our veterans. Mundy said after the terrorist attack of 9-11 the meaning of military service has changed and that makes our veterans and their service as well as sacrifices even more important.

Many celebrations are planned throughout our area to mark the Fourth of July holiday including fireworks at Goldston’s Beach at White Lake on Saturday at dark.

Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.