Tag Archives: Prisoner of War

Remembering Phyllis Galanti on her birthday … quiet POW crusader

[Today would have been Richmonder Phyllis Galanti’s 75th birthday. This gallant woman who passed away in April of 2014 was remembered today by her husband, Paul, in a loving tribute on his Facebook page.  I decided to rerun this post written when learning of her death. At the time, Commander Galanti left a comment that read:

“Lynn, Thank you for this blog post. I think it is the finest of many articles about my wife, Phyllis. Her memorial service on April 29, 2014, at First Presbyterian Church in Richmond was the largest such gathering I’ve seen in Richmond. And that was despite the deluge that flooded the city and environs. Phyllis would have been gratified to have been there. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. – Paul Galanti, Commander, U.S. Navy (Retired)”]

Paul Galanti 1

“Lonely the days and nights, my love, that we have been apart. It seems almost forever since I held you to my heart. The moments are as restless as the waves that move the sea, but every second means a step nearer, my love, to thee.”
—POW Paul Galanti’s words to wife Phyllis after his release as a POW during theVietnam War, a poem he had shared with her before they married.

Phyllis Galanti burst onto the world stage when her husband, Paul Galanti, a Navy fighter pilot shot down over Hanoi in 1966, became a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. She had never wanted to be in the spotlight, this quiet and unassuming lady, but in 1971, five years after her husband’s capture and imprisonment at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” she took her battle to have him released to the people of Virginia, America, and the world, and became a national celebrity.

Sometimes the quiet reluctant ones are the chosen leaders. That was Phyllis Galanti.

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Life as a Vietnam prisoner of war, in the words of John McCain

By Lynn R. Mitchell

John McCain 1

Navy Pilot John McCain was captured after his plane crashed in 1967 and held as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese for 5.5 years. This photo was taken of him after his capture in a Hanoi hospital with a fractured right leg and both arms.

 “For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.” – Unknown

~~~

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
– Donald Trump, speaking about Senator John McCain, 7/18/2015

I’m tired of Donald Trump. His 15 minutes of fame are over as far as the 2016 presidential convention, in my opinion, but I feel it’s important to contrast a life of privilege — Trump — with a life of service to country — John McCain, his father, and grandfather.

If you don’t read anything else about the debacle that is Trump bashing Senator John McCain’s service as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War and his five-plus years as a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton with men like Richmond’s Paul Galanti, read this Washington Post article (see What Donald Trump was up to while John McCain was a prisoner of war):

As McCain remained in solitary confinement, tapping messages on the filthy walls to his fellow POWs in Morse code, Trump was out partying at legendary nightclubs. … On March 14, 1973, McCain arrived back in America a physically broken man, but also a hero. That word has yet to be applied to Trump.

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Talking over iced tea with living history … former POW Paul Galanti

Paul Galanti 3By Lynn R. Mitchell
[Reprinted from SWAC Girl on August 20, 2006.]

Quick! Someone pinch me! I thought I had a conversation over iced tea with living history … former Vietnam POW and American hero Paul Galanti….

Not only did we have a discussion but he paid for my iced tea. He … a Navy fighter pilot who spent almost seven years in a stinking hole in Vietnam as a prisoner of war … bought me iced tea.

It was I who should have bought him … the world.

Flash back to 1967, front cover of Life magazine. Seated on a stark wooden bench, alone, in those Asian pajama outfits they wore, was a dark-haired young man staring directly at the camera.

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National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day

POW-MIABy Lynn R. Mitchell

Today is National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day. Some may wonder why this day is needed. Here are some statistics (see National POW/Missing Recognition Day in the United States):

There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control, according to the National League of Families website (cited in the United States Army website).
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