A Few Lessons From a POW

Today I learned a few valuable lessons from a former POW.

I attended a presentation by former POW and retired Lieutenant Colonel Barry Bridger today. Bridger was a POW in Vietnam for six years and stayed at a complex dubbed as the Hanoi Hilton.

After his moving presentation, Bridger fielded several questions. During Bridger’s response of these questions, I learned a few lessons. I wish to share this lessons with my wonderful, loyal audience.

Negative Propaganda Does Affect the Troops

One question fielded was about . As most of you know, Jane Fonda sympathized with the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. Bridger responded that he didn’t take what Fonda said against the U.S. military personal. However, he informed the audience that most negative propaganda (including Fonda’s) was played back for the POWs in order to lessen their morale.

In the present, there is a plethora of negative propaganda surrounding the U.S. troops fighting the global war on terrorism. One lesson that Bridger taught me was that negative propaganda will get to the fighting men and women one way or another. In this modern age, all a Soldier would have to do to see negative propaganda is to flip on the TV.

You Can’t Support the Troops Without Supporting the War

Another question Bridger fielded was about the current war and the politics surrounding what is going on over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bridger stated that he didn’t know how anybody could be against the war, but still be for the troops.

My take on Bridger’s statement is that he is absolutely correct. A war as a whole is fought by the men and women in uniform. To be against the war that the men and women are fighting is almost like saying, “We appreciate what you’re doing. We don’t appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish.” Another way of putting it is, “We support the job you have, just not the job you’re trying to finish.”

Summary

Hopefully the lessons I learned can apply to you as well.

2 Comments

  1. It has always been amazing to me that people think they can support the "I support the troops, not the war" position. It is a conflicting statement to say "I support you, but not what you are doing".

    If our military was made up of draftees, they could support that statement. As it is, our military is made up of volunteers. People joined for different reasons, but they all made that choice to serve their country. And their country turns around and tells them they are doing the wrong thing? How is that supporting our troops?

    cetroyer

  2. I was there when Barry came home to Bladenboro, NC. I would like to know if he still has a plaque I gave him that said “Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life”.

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