An America patriot passed this weekend, but his bravery and leadership will not be forgotten. Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bud Day died at the age of 88. He endured five years of brutal torture at the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War and never broke.
His untreated wounds were infected, and he was suffering from malnutrition and unable to perform even the simplest task for himself. The fingers on both hands were curled into fists as a result of his torture; he regained some motion by peeling them back, flattening them against the wall of his cell, and leaning into them with his full weight.
For more than five years, Day resisted the North Vietnamese guards who tortured him. On one occasion in 1971, when guards burst in with rifles as some of the American prisoners gathered for a forbidden religious service, Major Day stood up, looked down the muzzles of the guns, and began to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The other men, including James Stockdale, the ranking U.S. officer in the prison, joined him.
George Day was released on March 14, 1973. Three years later, on March 6, 1976, both he and Stockdale were presented with the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford.
I was honored to meet Col. Day at CPAC in 2007. In a world filled with celebrity “rock stars” and hero hype, Col. Bud Day was the real deal.