The POWs and their spouses gathered for a banquet gala at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on the 40th anniversary of the White House dinner hosted for them by President Nixon on May 24, 1973 – the largest dinner in White House history.
The program featured remarks by President Nixon’s daughter Tricia Nixon Cox, business leader and POW advocate Ross Perot, and Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as a video tributes from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Col. George “Bud” Day, former POW and Medal of Honor recipient. Nixon Foundation President Sandy Quinn was master of ceremonies.
The events also included a special performance from the POW choir, who sang at the original dinner.
Congressman Ed Royce began his remarks by saying that President Nixon was steadfast in his commitment to bring the POWs home:
“…one thing wasn’t negotiable: and that was the return of our POWs and an accounting of those who were missing,” Rep. Royce said. “These were the terms of the “peace with honor” that he stood for.”
Ross Perot thanked the POWs for the incredible sacrifices they made for America, before leading the room in three cheers of “hip, hip, hooray!”
Tricia Nixon Cox, the 37th President’s eldest daughter, also paid tribute to the American heroes.
“Under the most difficult of circumstances, you never lost faith in America,” Mrs. Cox said. “And my father never lost his faith in you. And when you heard the B-52′s, you knew that you were going home — home with honor.”
Watch the video below:
View the photo gallery below:
Memorial Day Reunion – CNN
Former Charlotte POW leads hymn at Nixon library — Charlotte Observer
Vietnam POWs reunite at Nixon Library after 40 years — ABC 7 (Los Angeles)