Saturday, November 12, 2011
The Highs and Lows of Patriotism
Friend Laurie, hubby Ray,and I had the good fortune to spend Friday morning at a Veterans Day celebration. Both current service personnel and young and older Veterans (from as far back as WWII) were present and delighted to be in company of fellow servicemen and women. It was something like a multigenerational family reunion though assuredly some had never before met. We enjoyed beautiful patriotic hymns, singing, and talks by public officials. Nonetheless, the most moving talk of the day came from Commander Everett Alvarez Jr., the first and longest held POW in Vietnam. "Ev" as he is called by fellow veterans, spent the first year of captivity alone (NO other U.S. captives) in the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison. When others were taken captive and brought in, they were as you might imagine treated poorly, tortured, barely fed, humiliated in public forums, and were NOT allowed to speak to each other. Commander Alvarez talked of the wall tapping code prisoners derived to communicate with one another. That code, while a life threat if caught, held them all together. To quote the Commander, "Faith in God, Country, and self" brought him through.