Historical Highlight for July 2, 2023 – “The Escape, the Torture & the Miracle” – here’s a short historical fact from the history of the Vietnam war and the POW experience shared in the new ‘Captured by Love’ book. In each of these nuggets of history are personal and professional lessons that can be applied today:
“In May of 1969, there was an escape at the Zoo camp in Hanoi. The two bold men were captured within 48 hours, and all hell broke loose. They were tortured severely—one of them to death—and the North Vietnamese immediately began a torture campaign in all the camps.
At the same time the communists were feeling increasing pressure from the US and from many previously neutral countries around the world. They were criticized for not following the Geneva Conventions, which require humane treatment of POWs. With the negative press gaining momentum, the communists wanted to counter that bad PR. Their response was as insane as it was cruel. Their goal was to get the POWs to sign statements saying that we had received “lenient and humane treatment.” Their strategy was to torture us into signing those statements! When we confronted them with the fact that we could not sign a statement with a lie, they responded “No, not so. The truth is that which most benefits the Party.” In other words, the end justifies the means. (A major difference between True Democracy and Communism.)
The heinous treatment continued until September of 1969 when their leader, Ho Chi Minh, died. In October when the new leaders took over, they stopped the torture for the most part. And life in the camps for our final three years became more live-and-let-live. We assumed this change was tied solely to Ho Chi Minh’s death, because we had no awareness of the National League of POW/MIA Families and their powerful impact. But their efforts seriously rattled the communists, which led to our improved living conditions. This allowed us to strengthen our physical, mental, and emotional selves—and this helped us to not only return home, but to return with honor.”
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