2 former Vietnam POWs honored in New York
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal March 3, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — Almost 50 years ago to the days that Gen. George Everette "Bud" Day and Master Sgt. John T. Anderson II were released from prisoner-of-war camps in North Vietnam, the two U.S. veterans were posthumously honored at the Niagara County Courthouse.
As part of Thursday's ceremony, pictures and brief biographies of the two men were set up. The displays will stay in place at the courthouse until March 31. Niagara Falls, N.Y., was both men's last stateside address before they were captured by the North Vietnam Army.
Robert Hull, president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #268, spoke to the crowd about the former POWs and their lives.
Day was born in February of 1925 and served in World War II and Korea as a fighter pilot. Norm Pearson, a fellow Vietnam veteran, said he knew Day in the 1960s while he was an air adviser at the Niagara Falls air base and he was "a good man."
Day was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976 by President Gerald Ford and is buried in the National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla. He died on July 27, 2013.
The late U.S. Sen. John McCain, who also was a POW in Vietnam, once said Day was "the bravest man I ever knew, and his fierce resistance and resolute leadership set the example for us in prison of how to return home with honor."
Day spent five years and three months in captivity and was released on March 14, 1973. Following his release, he continued his law practice and wrote the book "Returned With Honor." Day was also known for bringing a lawsuit against the U.S. Army that eventually gave retired veterans health care through Tricare by Congressional decree.
In Vietnam, Anderson served at a television station in Hue. During the Tet Offensive he held his position for 16 hours and was awarded two Silver Stars.
Anderson spent five years and one month as a POW. On March 5, 1973, he was released and reunited with his family in Niagara Falls, where a celebration and a parade were organized in his honor.
In 1985, the Army renamed its Journalist of the Year award, which Anderson had previously won, as the Master Sergeant John T. Anderson Military Journalist of the Year award.
Anderson died on April 1, 1988, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Joining VVA-268 members in the brief ceremony were state Sen. Rob Ortt and Assembly member Mike Norris.
Ortt, who also is a veteran, said he's especially struck by the accomplishments of Day.
"What stuck out to me the most, as well as the heroic actions of General Day while in captivity, was the founding of the Tricare system. That's a huge thing that today my generation takes for granted," Ortt said.
Norris addressed all of the veterans in the audience.
"The reason we have a bright future in our country is because of you," he said. "Without your service we couldn't stand here today with free speech, free religion and freedom of assembly. On behalf my colleagues, I want to thank you for your service."
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