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Good Morning Vietnam with Col. Lee Ellis


Today, the Two Mikes spoke with Colonel Lee Ellis (ret'd), who was a combat pilot in Vietnam, was shot down, and spent 5.5 years in captivity in North Vietnam, several of them in the Hanoi Hilton.

 

Col Ellis has written a book called "Captured by Love" which is a compilation of memoir-likes essays -- including his own - about the experiences of himself and his fellow prisoners and how their lives turned out after they returned to the United States.

 

The men and situations focus on the return of the last group of POWs to be returned from Vietnam over the course of several months in the spring of 1973, a group that numbered about 400 men -- almost entirely pilots and air-crew -- who had been prisoners from 5 to 8 years, with an average of 5.5 years.

 

Colonel Ellis presents the personal stories of 20 of those men and their families drawn from their own words and recollections. Some of the POWs got home and were divorced by their wives. Most of these men remarried and the others remained married. The average age of the men and their families whose stories are told is now 85 years, and so reflect family-life experiences of c. 60 years.

 

The stories show how successful these 20 men and their wives and families have been during those years, and that the returning men have largely subdued their residual bitterness’s from prolonged captivity and torture and that they and their families have shown extraordinary resilience, an exemplary capacity for love, companionship, and an acknowledgement of the interdependence of families.

 

Colonel Ellis has written a really extraordinary book about genuinely extraordinary men, women, and children. He also was an unusual vehicle for driving home the human power for survival and revival found in these stories by including concise "lessons learned" sections at the conclusion of each story.

 

Colonel Ellis's book is both a terrific, heartwarming read, an education into the positive possibilities of human nature, and a treasure to own for both re-reading and for future generations.  

 

  Opening music credit: Noah Kahan, Hozier - Northern Attitude

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