Sunday, February 12, 2006

POWs Return Home

"Congratulations. We made it," Everett Alvarez said to Bob Schumacher 33 years ago today after they had boarded the plane that would bring them home to the families who loved them and a nation that wanted to forget them.

The Vietnamese government in Hanoi began releasing American Prisoners of War on February 12, 1973. Alvarez was the longest held POW since his capture August 5, 1964. Bob Schumaker was the second longest held American in the North Vietnamese prison camps. They were among the first released.

Of the 725 Americans held as POWs in Vietnam, 660 survived. The best known today is Sen. John McCain who was released March 14, 1973. The last man freed was Robert White on April 1, 1973. Having been held in solitary confinement for more than three years, the truth of his freedom must have seemed very doubtful that Aprils Fool's Day.

Major Chin of the Army of Vietnam (ARVN) served with John McCain as a POW in the prison camp known as The Hanoi Hilton. I work with Mr. Chin today. He is soft spoken, kind, hardworking, and at his advanced age is the father of a small child.

I didn't appreciate what you had done back then, but I'm older and, I hope, wiser. To all the men who were held as POWs in the prisons of Vietnam:

Thank you, welcome home.

Parade Magazine

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Indigo Rose said...

I can only hope that the POW's and their families can forgive us our uneducated actions during a time of stupid insensitivity.
Even my youth cannot wipe clean the non-action I chose.
Please, give my regards to Mr. Chin. To him and the other POW's, I also say WELCOME HOME AND THANK YOU.

Scottage said...

This is a great post. Thanks for the info!