Gov. Bryant honors former POWs - - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Bryant honors former POWs

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Gov. Phil Bryant hopped on his Harley and took a spin around the State Capitol Friday morning, but only after greeting some of those taking part in the Run for the Wall.

This week and next week, bikers are riding from California to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. to honor prisoners of war -- some survived.

"February 12, April 4 1973, 591 prisoners of war returned from captivity, from Vietnam to the U.S.," Bryant told the crowd.

But 1,648 never came home. William Robinson spent seven and a half years in the so-called Hanoi Hilton.

"My 20's were wrapped up in Vietnam," he said. "At first they were slow in trying to indoctrinate, then when we didn't respond in the manner in which they thought, they introduced their persuasions which included ropes, leg irons, handcuffs."

Robinson says he refers to his right arm as his welfare arm.

"Because they tore three of my tendons loose. Only got one working so I call it my welfare arm. One working, three watching," Robinson joked.

Ken Cordier was shot down in Vietnam two days shy of his 30th birthday and spent six years as a POW.

"We lived in small cells, sleeping on boards, no mats or mattress. We had a bare light bulb on 24/7," Cordier said. "You could only whisper. If they heard your voice they'd come in, beat you up or worse."

Cordier now lives in Texas.

"This is the first time I've been (to Jackson, Mississippi)," Cordier said. "The patriotism and participation of the local folks is pretty impressive. It was heartwarming for me to experience this weekend."

Hundreds of bike riders will ride through Jackson on Monday and will arrive in the nation's Capitol on Memorial Day.

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