EYEWINTNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — On this week’s Veterans Voices, it’s been 50 years since Americans held captive during the Vietnam War were released. Now, an exhibit is honoring dozens of the prisoners of war.
Some of the 591 prisoners of war who were leaving Vietnam finally found their way home to their families after being in captivity for up to 8 years.
It’s still the longest held group of POWs in our nation’s history. The display is called “Open Doors: Fifty Years of Freedom,” and it celebrates the lives of 30 former Vietnam prisoners of war.
“We tried to capture their humanity, their personalities and their life perspective,” said Taylor Kiland, co-creator of Open Doors.
“It publicly celebrates these men, their families, their kids, it honors the sacrifices they made, not by choice, but by force,” explained Jamie Howren, co-creator of Open Doors.
Captain Jack Ensch is one of the 30 veterans profiled in the exhibit. Ensch was shot down in Vietnam and held captive for seven months. Still, he calls himself lucky.
“Very flattered and very honored to be in this group with a bunch of these other real heroes, I don’t consider myself a hero, but I served with a bunch of heroes. I went through my own little crucible of Hell. The first few days I was captured came back a little shorthanded as you see, they kept my thumb, it was injured in the explosion of the missile, and they used that against me for three or four days. Would not give me medical attention until I finally started answering questions.” stated Ensch.
The moving photos, stories of survival, and relics from captivity, now on display to the public for the first time in 15 years.
“I just hope that this exhibits shows the value in our military and reminds people of the sacrifice the military make to protect our homeland,” said Howren.
If you have an idea for veterans voices, email Nick Toma at NToma@PAhomepage.com