Gayle Anderson reported that the Richard Nixon Foundation is set to host the official celebration of the 50th anniversary of the repatriation of American Prisoners of War from Vietnam. From May 23 to 25, 2023, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California, will welcome nearly 200 POWs and their families for three days of reunion events. We have information about events beginning today and running through the rest of this week!
The schedule of events includes a community parade, recognition, and honors from the U.S. Military, the official opening of a new special exhibit, Captured: Shot Down in Vietnam, and a rare opportunity to hear reflections and stories from the POWs.
The highlight of the celebration will be the reenactment of the largest dinner in White House history on May 24, 2023, in honor of the Vietnam POWs. Nearly 200 of the former POWs will dine in the Nixon Library’s White House East Room replica, with menu items and centerpieces looking like those from the dinner 50 years ago.
Gather along Yorba Linda Boulevard in front of the Nixon Library, wearing your patriotic gear and holding your flags!
The public is invited to welcome and greet the POWs on Yorba Linda Boulevard at a Homecoming Parade in front of the Nixon Library on May 23 beginning at 12:30 p.m. The parade will travel eastbound between Casa Loma Avenue and Mountain View Avenue. The POWs will assemble in classic convertible cars with escorts from the California Highway Patrol, Orange County’s Sheriff’s Department, and the Orange County Fire Authority. An Air Force Flyover of F-35 Lightning II combat aircraft will occur at 1:30 p.m.
Limited space is available for a one-of-a-kind, rare panel discussion featuring once-imprisoned POWs.
Resilience, Fortitude, and Faith: Vietnam War POWs Reflect 50 Years Later begins May 25, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. The panelists are three decorated veterans who were held captive in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison camp during the Vietnam War: U.S. Navy Commander Everett Alvarez, Jr., U.S. Navy Captain Jack Ensch, and U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Tom Hanton. They will share their experiences of survival and endurance during their captivity, including physical and emotional torture, as well as the bonds of brotherhood and faith that helped them to persevere.
Registration is required to attend the panel discussion on May 25 and limited tickets will be released on a weekly basis. Registration is available at Eventbrite.com.
*The Nixon Library is closed to the public, but members of the public are invited and encouraged to gather along Yorba Linda Boulevard to participate in the Homecoming Parade.
Homecoming Parade on Yorba Linda Boulevard in front of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library celebrates the arrival of the Vietnam POWs.
Air Force Flyover of F-35 Lightning II Combat Aircraft
POWs and their families begin tours of the Nixon Library
Private dinner and concert for POWs and their families, sponsored by In-N-Out Burger
- The Nixon Library is open to the public but will close one hour early at 4 p.m.
Captured: Shot Down in Vietnam special exhibition opens to the public
The exhibition was made possible by Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. in honor of Ross Perot, Sr.
Official POW Homecoming Reunion Photograph
POW Homecoming Reunion Dinner in Nixon Library East Room
Dinner made possible by Ling and Charlie Zhang
Resilience, Fortitude, and Faith: Vietnam War POWs Reflect 50 Years Later
POW Panel Discussion in the Nixon Library East Room
Listen to the podcast “CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam.”
Also “CAPTURED: Shot Down in Vietnam” is a serialized documentary podcast from the Richard Nixon Foundation.
The docuseries features newly surfaced Oval Office recordings from Presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson and new documentary interviews with Commander Everett Alvarez Jr., the first American shot down in Vietnam, Eugene “Red” McDaniel, POW/MIA family members, authors, and historians.
For more information, check NixonLibrary.gov.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact Gayle Anderson at 323-460-5732, email Gayle at Gayle.Anderson@KTLA.com, Facebook: Gayle Anderson, Instagram: KTLAChannel5Gayle and Twitter: KTLA5Gayle.
Gayle Anderson reports for the KTLA 5 News on May 23, 2023.