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Word Count: 2,401
HEROES I Venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime --Adlai Stevenson Daniel Webster defines Hero one renowned for exceptional courage and fortitude a champion an idol A thesaurus goes a little further when it says valiant brave gallant I like to think of a hero as one to whom I can look up It is said that there are no heroes left in the world In all due respect to the cynics and the pessimists of the day I only have only one thing to say open your eyes Today I would like to introduce you to a real life hero To make this introduction it will be necessary to go back a few years to the late 1960s The place is Southeast Asia and the man is one LieutenantColonel United States Navy Robinson Robbie Risner Shot down during a mission over Vietnam Colonel Risner is taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese and placed in a cell in downtown Hanoi As he parades down the street as a prize for the patriots to see and jeer at he is struck in the head by rocks lashed out at with sticks and he was spat upon At the end of the procession Colonel Risner arrived at what was to be his home for the next five grueling years He had all of the comforts home a bed to sleep in meals and medical care Well not exactly the way we think of home however His bed consisted of a concrete slab with a one-half inch bamboo mat for a mattress The stocks on one end of the mat are used regularly Every night to be exact His meals consisted mainly a soup made from a boiled pumpkin type vegetable called manyok with only the liquid portion
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