Nearly 200 Vietnam POWs and their spouses gathered for a banquet gala at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library tonight on the 40th anniversary of the White House dinner hosted for them by President Nixon on May 24, 1973 – the largest dinner in White House history.
The men and their families were entertained by a Hollywood star-studded lineup including Bob Hope, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Irving Berlin. They were paid a special tribute by John Wayne, who told them: “I’ll ride into the sunset with you anytime.”
Many wept openly when Irving Berlin led the chorus of heroes in “God Bless America.”
“Some of the men almost seemed to be shouting so that the words could be heard all the way to Hanoi,” President Nixon later said.