Guardsman: July 4 important
By By William F. West / community editor
July 3, 2002
An Air National guardsman said he believes the Fourth of July will be important in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
Horton said that it is a good feeling to see so many U.S. flags flying in the city.
The unit has over 1,000 people, with more than 400 deployed in nine different countries to perform several jobs, ranging from civil engineering to food service to firefighting, Hughley said.
For security reasons, Hughley cannot provide details about all of the countries where guard members are stationed. "Some of these countries just don't want it advertised that they're letting the U.S. in some of it for security reasons," he said.
Security at the military side of Key Field is at an all-time high, with an armed guard stationed at a concrete reinforced entrance. A representative of the newspaper who went to the field on Monday also had to park his car in a handicapped zone because no one is allowed to park next to the building where Hughley and others work.
Hughley said that some people have a hard time understanding why an Air National Guard base is under such tight security when the Meridian Naval Air Station is much more open.
Hughley said that he believes this year's Fourth of July will be a time to reflect on freedom.
The controversial court decision from California has been the talk of the Air National Guard Unit, he said. "Oh, I mean, it's unbelievable."
Hughley, asked whether he wanted to comment on the ruling, said, "I have no opinion when I have this uniform on."
But, he said, "Yeah, I've got an opinion."
Nothing special has been planned for the Fourth of July, he said. "I think everybody's mind-set will be different this year. There'll be a lot of people working."