Meet Bud Day
George E. "Bud" Day is the nation's highest living decorated military hero
, and its highest since Douglas MacArthur
In a military career spanning 34 years and 3 wars, Day received nearly 70 decorations and awards of which more than 50 are for combat. Most notable of his decorations is our nation’s highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, presented to him by President Gerald Ford.
Read the details of his near escape
from the North Vietnamese here.
For several days meager meals of berries, as well as two frogs swallowed alive, provided the sustenance he needed to continue. After more than a week of struggle Day finally reached the Ben Hai River marking the boundaries of the Demilitarized Zone. Hiding from enemy patrols during the day, he left the cover of jungle that night and used a bamboo log to float across the river and into "no-man's-land". For another week he avoided enemy patrols and several times came heartbreakingly close to attracting the attention of American helicopters and reconnaissance airplanes. With unbelievable strength of character he continued south in hopes of reaching an American patrol that had ventured into the zone.
Unfortunately he was caught and taken back to North Vietnam, where he endured years of additional punishment. But they could not break his spirit.
In February, 1971 several American prisoners at the Hoa Loa camp gathered for a forbidden religious service. Suddenly they were interrupted by the enraged enemy guards. As the guards burst into the meeting room with rifles pointed at the prisoners, one of the Americans stood to his feet. Ragged, battered but unbroken, it was George Day. Looking into the muzzles of the enemy rifles he began to sing. The song was "The Star Spangled Banner", our National Anthem. Next to him another prisoner stood. Commander James Bond Stockdale was the ranking American in the prison and he lended his voice to Day's anthem of freedom. Soon the other prisoners joined the refrain, and then from throughout the entire prison camp, came the sounds of others. Stockdale, who would join "Bud" Day in receiving Medals of Honor five years later wrote that, although he was punished for the episode, it was exhilarating: "Our minds were now free and we knew it."
Bud Day is featured prominently in the movie "Stolen Honor"
, which can be seen for free at the link. Read his letter about John Kerry here