LADSON, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry veterans are reflecting on the meaning of Independence Day as celebrations occur across the country.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3433 in Ladson celebrated Independence Day with a family-friendly event including games, and food, complete with a fireworks show.
News 2 stopped by the event to find out what Independence Day means to the men and women who served.
Many of the veterans at Post 3433 served for decades. They dedicated part of their lives to protecting Americans and preserving freedom. Some say celebrating Independence Day makes their years of service worth it.
“What is most important remember is we wouldn’t have a country, we wouldn’t have a Fourth of July if it weren’t for veterans,” said Rudy Sookbirsingh, a U.S. Army veteran.
Monday’s event highlights the importance of veterans having access to a VFW post.
“That’s what we’re here for. To be with our friends. Because we’re all friends,” said Curtis Peterson, a 20-year Air Force veteran, and the current VFW District Commander.
For some veterans, the VFW is their only source of social interaction and friendship so they spend their afternoons with their comrades swapping stories.
“We provide support and care for those veterans so it’s very rewarding,” said Ted Tufts, a 22-year Air Force veteran.
While sharing stories and good times during Monday’s event, veterans reflected on what Independence Day means to them.
“Independence day means the freedom to do what we want in this country,” said Peterson. “Speak, hold rallies, talk to each other, love each other. Cause I’ve been to other countries and there’s no freedom like we have here. We have the right to speak up and do what we want to do. Travel across the United States from one end to the other and have a good time.”
“This is our freedom. We spent a lot of time fighting and providing support and care for our fellow countrymen all over the world,” said Tufts.
“This is the best country in the world and it wouldn’t be the best country without the sacrifice of some of these people,” said Sookbirsingh.
Beth Tufts, the newly-appointed S.C. President of the VFW Auxiliary says she prefers calling the holiday Independence Day instead of the Fourth of July because of the weight the holiday holds.
“The Fourth of July plays it down. It’s a date. It means a time to go out and have a barbecue. To have hamburgers and hotdogs. That’s the Fourth of July. Independence Day is what it is,” said Tufts.