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4th of July holds special significance for military veterans

Maj. John L Haynes
Maj. John L Haynes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It can be easy to celebrate with fireworks, cookouts and parties that come with the Fourth of July, but for those who have served, it’s a time to remember that freedom isn’t free.

Since 1776 and to this day, brave men and women have continue to make the ultimate sacrifice, protecting the rights we are guaranteed by our Constitution.

Dale Doss fought in Vietnam. He was shot down on a bombing mission to Hanoi.

“I ejected and we were caught immediately,” said Doss, who survived the war, but spent five years with Sen. John McCain as a prisoner of war.

Maj. John L Haynes enlisted at the age of 15. He served in WWII, China, Korea and Vietnam.

“Certainly, there was no American during that era that took our freedom for granted,” Haynes said.

He said that during the Vietnam War, the Fourth of July always held a special significance.

“Every weapon along the line or on a particular hill would be fired in unison," Haynes said.

For many soldiers, the war ended before the trip back home.

Doss remembers a friend of his who died during a rescue mission attempt.

“He said, 'Guys, they've got me surrounded,' and then he said goodbye,” Doss said.

Haynes, too, lost many a comrade, but he said they didn’t die in vain.

“We must have the honor that we're ever conscious of the price of our freedom -- the price that has been paid for in the blood of the citizens of this country," Haynes said.

Haynes said he remembers those who lost their lives on every significant holiday. He said he hopes others will do the same.

Haynes works with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, an organization that helps wounded veterans. Click here if you’d like to make a donation to the program.