[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)”]
“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.