Easter Story

Scott has written several times about Colonel Leo Thorsness, a genuine hero. National Review has an excerpt from Thorsness’ book Surviving Hell, about his experiences as a POW in Vietnam. The excerpt describes an occasion when Col. Thorsness and 41 fellow POWs decided to hold a church service, contrary to the instructions of their North Vietnamese captors:

Sunday morning came, and we knew they would be watching us again. Once more, we gathered in the far end of the cell. As soon as we moved together, the interrogator and guards burst through the door. Ned stepped forward and said there wouldn’t be a problem: We were just going to hold a quiet ten-minute church service and then we would spread back out in the cell. As expected, they grabbed Ned and hauled him off to Heartbreak for torture.

Our plan unfolded. The second ranking man, the new SRO, stood, walked to the center of the cell and in a clear firm voice said, “Gentlemen,” our signal to stand, “the Lord’s Prayer.” We got perhaps halfway through the prayer, when the guards grabbed the SRO and hauled him out the door toward Heartbreak.

The story isn’t specifically pegged to Easter, but it’s appropriate for the season.

I’ve never mentioned this publicly, but when Col. Thorsness first returned from Vietnam after six years as a POW, and he and his wife wanted to get away privately for a while, they borrowed my family’s cabin on a lake near my home town. Neither the cabin nor the lake was anything special, but it must have seemed like Paradise. It’s an honor to have this small association with a great man.


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