It seems only fitting that someone should remark here upon the recent passing of Colonel George “Bud” Day.
You’ve probably already read one of his numerous obituaries. You may have watched John McCain eulogize him on the floor of the Senate. But his life was so extraordinary, so courageous, and so honorable, that it practically cries out for a permanent memorial.
I’m not necessarily talking about a statue in his hometown or his face on a coin. I’m thinking of something more permanent, more personal. We should all pause once in a while to remember the man who so loved his country, and so respected his duties as a leader of men, that he could endure with dignity five years of inhuman brutality and torture at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors, only to return and say:
There were certainly a lot of acts of courage that probably far exceeded what [I] saw [myself] doing. I never saw myself as having performed so extraordinarily that I was going to be a candidate for a Medal of Honor. So I was very humbled and recognized that I was getting this medal on behalf of a lot of other things and people who for some reason had not been recognized.
Far better for us as a nation to be known for our Bud Days than our John Kerrys. Far better for our young people to aspire to the true grit of a Bud Day than the game-day grit of a Kobe Bryant. Far better for our Vietnam scholars to write and study the heroic American life of Bud Day than the sad tragedies of My Lai or Kent State.
American children should learn the life of Bud Day in school. We who have not served in our nation’s military should hold our manhoods cheap while any speaks of Bud Day.
Requiescat in pace.