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Students to honor Korean and Vietnam-era veterans

November  11, 2013

The Augustana Veterans Support Group will host an event to honor Korean and Vietnam-Era veterans on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Augustana’s College Center (3750 7th Ave.). The event is free and open to the public.

The event will feature retired United States Air Force Major General John Borling as the keynote speaker. During the Vietnam War, Borling was shot down by ground fire. Seriously injured, he was captured and spent nearly seven years as a POW in Hanoi.

“Our challenge was to keep the faith, carry on, and stay true to one another. For that, we had to communicate. Communication among prisoners in different cells was forbidden and severely punished,” said the Major General. “So, despite the threat and the reality of pain, we tapped on the walls. The tap code became our lifeline, our means of passing along information and words of encouragement to one another.”

While in prison, Borling wrote and memorized poetry to keep his mind sharp and spirits up. He shared his poetry with his fellow captives through the forbidden POW tap code. Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi contains all of the poems Borling wrote during his confinement, poems of pain and despair but also humor, encouragement and hope.

Borling attended Augustana. He is a native Chicagoan and Air Force Academy graduate. A fighter pilot, his many decorations include the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. During his 37 years in the Air Force, Borling served in high-level command and staff positions throughout the world.

General Borling is a graduate of The National War College and executive programs at the JFK and Business School at Harvard. He was a White House Fellow and, later, treasurer and director of the governing foundation and for many years a regional selection panel member.

After military retirement, he continued to serve as the chairman, CEO or board director of many for-profit and not-for-profit entities. He also founded and directs SOS America, an organization that advocates universal military service for America’s youth.

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833