The Junaluska Associates evening session will feature the stories of two Vietnam veterans at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, in the Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska Assembly.
Porter Halyburton, a Southern gentleman born and raised in a small town in North Carolina, was a Navy pilot shot down over Vietnam and the youngest POW in Vietnam. Fred Cherry, an Air Force pilot from Virginia and a Korean War veteran, was the first black officer captured by the North Vietnamese.
When Halyburton was put in a prison cell with the badly injured Cherry, he was puzzled to hear that his captors expected him to care for Cherry. Then reality dawned on both men: The Vietnamese thought that putting a white Southern man in charge of caring for a black man would be the worst kind of punishment for both. What they didn’t reckon was that Halyburton would save Cherry’s life and that Cherry would save Halyburton’s spirit. While they shared a cell for just eight months, they established a lifelong bond.
Halyburton has enthralled audiences across the country, including Best of Our State at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, where he shared his life experience and insights.