Last weekend, George Everette Day, better known as Bud Day, died at the age of 88.  He was an Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down during the Vietnam War, imprisoned in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton,” and defiantly endured more than five years of brutality without divulging secret information to his captors.  He also earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Colonel Day was 17 years old when he volunteered for the Marine Corps in 1942, where he fought the Japanese in the South Pacific for three years.  In 1967, Mr. Day, by then a major, was put in command of a squadron of F-100s in Vietnam involved in a top-secret program, where he served as a “forward air controller” selecting military targets and calling air strikes on them.  He was shot down on August 26, 1967.  In an essay from the book, Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond The Call of Duty, the author notes:

For more than five years, Day resisted the North Vietnamese guards who tortured him.  On one occasion in 1971, when guards burst in with rifles as some of the American prisoners gathered for a forbidden religious service, Major Day stood up, looked down the muzzles of the guns, and begin to sing, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  The other men, including James Stockdale, the ranking U.S. officer in the prison joined him.  George Day was released on March 14, 1973.  Three years later, on March 6, 1976, both he and Admiral Stockdale were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford.

The New York Times noted in its obituary for Colonel Day:

Colonel Day was among America’s most highly decorated servicemen, having received nearly 70 medals and awards, more than 50 for combat exploits.  In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award specifically for airmen.

Senator John McCain recalled in his memoir “Faith of My Fathers,” written with Mark Salter, that Colonel Day “was a tough man, a fierce resister, whose example was an inspiration to every man who served with him.”  In his book, Senator McCain described how Colonel Day, even though he was in a seriously weakened condition himself, comforted him when he was near death from beatings.  Senator McCain wrote that Colonel Day “had an indomitable will to survive with his reputation intact, and he strengthened my will to live.”

Several days after Colonel Day’s passing, on Wednesday, Judge Wickham Corwin blocked a North Dakota law that required doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges.  Opponents argued that it would shut down North Dakota’s abortion mills, and Judge Corwin agreed.  Gathered before the hearing outside of the Cass County courthouse, a group of a dozen abortion supporters held signs that read “Abortion Providers Are Heroes.”  Most of my readers might not be aware that 42 abortion mills have already closed nationally in 2013, with many of those closed due to violations of the clinic safety regulations.  This comes in the wake of the Gosnell trial in Philadelphia, as many abortion mills have not been inspected for years.  (A further 24 abortion clinics were closed during 2012.)  Nevertheless, I do not consider abortionists and their allies heroes, for I am reminded of the words of The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, who said in a speech before the United Nations’ International Conference on Population and Development in 1994:

The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.  And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?  How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion?  As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.  Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child.  The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.  By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.  And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world.  The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble.  So abortion just leads to more abortion.  Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.  This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

Those are the things that true heroes say and do.  Peace to the memory of The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Colonel Day, and may God be close to Colonel Day’s family during these difficult days.  Thank you both for the example of your strength, perseverance, and courage