Her children arise and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:28

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Thanksgiving to the Rescue

Captain Charlie Plumb

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Book Excerpt taken from I'm No Hero
By Charlie Plumb

I'm often asked: "How did you do it, Captain? How could you take six years of filth, brutality, and loneliness? I could never have done it."

My answer is, "Of course you could have. As a matter of fact, you rub elbows each day with people who have done it. We weren't the only prisoners. Millions of Americans have experienced the manacles of the body or shackles of the mind. They have been bound by unfortunate external circumstances - automobile accidents, disease, natural disasters, paralyzing grief from the loss of a loved one. They have suffered deprivation and humiliation."

Once a victim of misfortune, many become too insecure to open doors. Instead, they allow themselves to wallow in despair. They become alcoholics, drug addicts, unfaithful wives or husbands, unruly children. Inability to face personal responsibility is often hidden in seemingly innocent pastimes - golf, poker, video games, television, sleep. These diversions spawn intense feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and some victims ultimately isolate themselves and become despondent. A few commit suicide.

These real-life tragedies, with their subsequent loneliness and despair, were the same patterns erroneously predicted by the graphologist who analyzed the letters I wrote while I was a POW. I had ample opportunity to damn society and curse my fate. But what good would that have done? To be sure, the Vietnamese would not have released me simply because I felt sorry for myself. On the contrary, they used every available means to make that happen. A despondent prisoner was a prime candidate for Communist indoctrination.

My secret for enduring nearly six years of hell is really not a secret at all. First and foremost, I had faith in an omniscient God, knowing that His will would be done. I never doubted that I could persevere; I simply trusted God's promise to answer my prayers.

I also loved my country, its people, and its freedoms. I realized that, because of the human element, mistakes could be made. But in growing up I had discerned that most of the people in this great land are honorable and compassionate. If it had not been so, I would not have accepted the commission to protect these ideals.

Second, I had self-discipline. It would have been easier to avoid torture by succumbing to the North Vietnamese interrogation. It would have been easier to assume helplessness by blaming an evil world. I could have rationalized myself into mental and physical paralysis. However, strict self-obedience gave me the ability to persevere.

Finally, I had pride. I was proud to know an omnipotent God. I was proud of my country and its heritage. I was proud of my family. I was proud of myself.

Faith, discipline, and pride - each of these nurtured the others. Combined, they allowed me to endure.

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guest website: www.charlieplumb.com/

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