Vets at Hickory Aviation Museum hope folks don’t forget their history this Fourth of July

Veterans visit Aviation Museum in Hickory

HICKORY, N.C. (WBTV) - Fourth of July celebrations for some people did not include parades or cookouts. Instead, they went to places like the Hickory Aviation Museum.

It’s a collection of vintage military aircraft on display where people can go right up and touch them. Chris Hostetler and his family were visiting the area from Raleigh and stopped by to look.

“What’s more American than an aviation museum on the Fourth?” asked Chris.

Several families came by, but also several veterans.

Ray St. Onge is from Maryland and came by to see an aircraft he actually flew in while he was in the Navy. The P-3 Orion on display was used for sub hunting and later for drug interdiction.

John Holtzclaw stopped by as well. The former Naval Aviator said it was important on the Fourth of July that folks remember the people who flew the aircraft on display.

“Remind people about the history and that this is what ensures their freedom,” he said.

Holtzclaw was shot down in his F-4 Phantom over North Vietnam in 1968. He and his radar man, who was injured, evaded capture and were able to reach a rescue helicopter that took them to safety.

Other vets stopped by the museum as well on Thursday. Officials said they hoped more people would learn about the facility and take advantage of it being in Hickory.

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