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Vietnam POW Orson Swindle: America Losing Sense of Sacrifice, Courage

On Memorial Day, we remember those who died in service to their country and those who died since serving. But it should also be a time to reflect on what exactly their sacrifices mean—not just then, but now. What is worth fighting for?

That’s what we discuss with Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, a true real hero. On Nov. 11, 1966, Marine Corps pilot Captain Swindle was shot down over North Vietnam. He was captured and spent the next 6 years and 4 months as a prisoner of war, subject to unbelievable deprivation and torture, mostly at the notorious Hanoi Hilton. After the military, he continued to serve in roles including assistant commerce secretary to President Reagan and Federal Trade commissioner under two administrations.

Swindle credits his upbringing—teaching values like honor, honesty, commitment, responsibility, and faith—with his ability to survive as a POW. He says it was the same for the other prisoners: “Every one of those men were special in every respect that I can come up with. And we just did our job: duty, honor, country. That was our job, and we knew it.”

Swindle says he doesn’t see those same values in America today and shares his fears and hopes for America’s future.

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