FRISCO, Texas (AP) — More than 120 Vietnam War-era prisoners of war are reconnecting with one another at a Dallas-area reunion hosted by developer Ross Perot Jr. and a nonprofit veterans’ organization.
The “Return to Freedom” reunion marks the 45th anniversary of the repatriation of the 662 American POWs held by the North Vietnamese government. NAM-POWs Corp., the nonprofit veterans’ group co-hosting the reunion, said 458 of those POWs are alive today with an average age of 78.
“Our bond is strong. These opportunities to share time together means a lot to all of us,” said retired U.S. Air Force Col. Joe Milligan, NAM-POWs president, in a statement.
That bond is cited by some of the POWs as something that helped keep them alive in captivity.
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Ken Cordier and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Mike McGrath shared a cell in their Hanoi prison for more than five years.
“We just became friends because we could talk the same language and laugh at the same jokes and we had similar interests,” McGrath told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT.
They said that reconnecting with one another helps their ongoing healing.
“As long as I’m healthy and can travel, I’m going to keep telling my story,” said Cordier.
The four-day reunion at The Omni Frisco at The Star hotel continues through Sunday.