At a party yesterday held in the Pastures of Heaven I was chatting with an old friend who had recently gotten a hoarse and sore throat. After asking about his remedy to cure this (bed rest) I asked if he'd gotten this before.
His answer gave me pause, even though I knew his history.
As a young man of Japanese descent living in California he and his family were relocated to the Manzanar Camp for several years.
After the second world war they moved back to Monterey and started over. He went to the college and enrolled in Naval ROTC, then after graduation, went to flight training in Pensacola Florida.
His fighter was shot down over North Vietnam in 1972 and he spent a year in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, the nickname for the prisoner of war camp in which allied fliers were held.
Last time he had had a sore throat and could not speak was during that year, he said. No other details. None needed.
Like all great heroes, he did not need to recount his valor, his stoicism, and his service to this country. I salute him and all heroes everywhere this Holiday season. He is a great and humble man.