“One of the Toughest Men I’ve Ever Known” – A Tribute to Former POW Bud Day

There is always something new to learn when reflecting on the life and passing of another person, but today’s tribute is no ordinary person.

Today, we honor and remember fellow Vietnam POW, Col. George E. “Bud” Day USAF (Ret), who recently passed away on July 27th, 2013. He was one of our nation’s most decorated service members and earned more than 70 medals during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where he received the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor.

He spent 5 ½ years as a POW with Lee Ellis and their comrades. In a recent statement, Lee said, “I worked with Bud over enemy territory when he was an F-100 Misty FAC and I was flying the F-4.  He was clearly a courageous guy.  Then we met in the Hanoi Hilton–the worst of times. Since then, we have celebrated freedom and friendship for forty years in the best of times. Bud was a unique individual–a bulldog, tough as nails, blunt and feisty, and yet he had a soft heart, strong faith, and lived life to the fullest. He was blessed to have his wife, Dorrie, a wonderful gem standing beside him all those many years. We lost a great American and one of our most courageous warriors ever.”

These same sentiments were also mentioned by POW cellmate, Senator John McCain, “I owe my life to Bud, and much of what I know about character and patriotism. He 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. … I will miss him terribly.”

After his release, Day retired to the Florida Panhandle in 1977 and practiced law, becoming a crusader for veterans’ health care benefits. He took his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2003 lawsuit that alleged the government reneged on its promise to provide free lifetime health care to hundreds of thousands of Korean and World War II veterans.

Please take a moment to read this extended article and be challenged and inspired by Col. Day’s life and legacy, and share your thoughts –

Article – Sioux City Journal

Article – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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