Kirk Lawrenz is a veteran and volunteer at the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum. He says the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Independence Day, is ‘freedom’.
“We have the freedom to make choices and to do those things that we wish to do to better ourselves and our communities,” says Lawrenz.
After dedicating time to the service in his earlier years, he’s now using his freedom to care for historical aircraft and educate people on the country’s history.
“Jack Hunter, he’s a retired Colonel, I’m a retired Masters Sergeant, he went ahead and started the museum with one airplane and has grown it,” he says.
This A-37 light attack aircraft used in the Vietnam War is Lawrenz’s favorite example. He says it flew 2,200 hours in combat and is the only one that can still fly.
“I was like 11 years old in 1968 that was the year this airplane came out, I thought it was so neat, I saw it in a magazine and I go ‘wow I can’t wait for the first plastic model kit comes out so I can put it together,’” he says.
These veterans say it’s important for the younger generation to know the importance of America’s celebrations and to reflect on what leaders did, to better the United States.
“Think about where you came from, and I know we’re going through a lot of turbulent times as a county, remember we’re all Americans and we need to start acting like it,” he says.
The museum is a non-profit and veterans say by visiting and donating, you can help them grow and continue educating their visitors.