OPERATION THANK YOU
Vietnam Veterans sacrificed so much. The former prisoners of war (POWs) sacrificed more.
The state of South Carolina and the city of Greenville have been selected to host the national organization of former Vietnam POWs Return to Freedom 49th Anniversary Reunion, celebrating their release by the North Vietnamese communists in 1973. The Westin Poinsett Hotel will be the reunion headquarters and “command central” for the estimated 230+ attendees (including nearly 100 former POWs) during the 4-day private event. The event will take place June 1-5, 2022.
Forty-nine years ago, 662 American POW’s (averaging more than 5 years in captivity) were released from horrific conditions in Vietnam. Their first stop on the journey home was Clark Air Force Base hospital in the Philippines for much needed medical and emotional care. Overwhelmed by what was happening, they walked into the facilities and covering the walls on every floor were letters.
These letters came from elementary/high school children across the United States. America’s youth had been taught about the POWs, their service and sacrifices. It touched their hearts to see that they had not been forgotten. It is a memory many of the POWs still speak of today. The letters from children/students were so loved and cherished, that a book containing many of elementary school students was published in 1978, and each former POW received a copy.
We want to say THANK YOU and need your help!
It seems fitting that we would remind them once again that their service and sacrifice is still remembered.
OPERATION THANK YOU
What: Cards and letters of thanks and appreciation for service
When: May 15, 2022 – all cards and letters should be received by this date
How: Make cards or write letters of thanks
Where: Mail cards or letters to:
Vietnam POW Reunion Foundation
Attn: Brenda Stewart
110 Devon Road
Clinton, SC 29325
Children or students are encouraged to make a card of thanks or write a letter of thanks to the former POWs "Dear Sir or POW veteran" thank you for your service letter (or thank them for whatever) or create an illustration/patriotic picture.
The cards and letters will be given to the former POWs and will be used to cover the walls of the hospitality and meeting rooms used for their reunion.
Note: These men are very strong in their faith and many of them say this is what got them through their experience. While in captivity they used a "tap code" (like morse code) to communicate. At the end of most messages, they tapped "GBU" ... God Bless You. Every Sunday whether in solitary confinement or in a cell, these men always stood (if able) and said the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer out loud. It was a unifying activity regardless of what else they were enduring. Messages like God Bless You, etc. are very acceptable to this group.