Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton Book Launch and POW Experience Panel Discussion

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On February 12, 2013, the Pritzker Military Library will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of retired Air Force Major General JOHN BORLING from the infamous Hoa Lo “Hanoi Hilton” prison, with the launch of Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton, an imprint of the Pritzker Military Library, published by Master Wings, LLC.

CHICAGO, January 31, 2013—On February 12, 2013, the Pritzker Military Library will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of retired Air Force Major General JOHN BORLING from the infamous Hoa Lo “Hanoi Hilton” prison, with the launch of Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton, an imprint of the Pritzker Military Library, published by Master Wings, LLC.

Borling, a fighter pilot, spent over six and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. With no writing materials, he mentally composed poetry and kept it memorized over the years. He shared his poems with fellow prisoners using a forbidden “tap code” to communicate. He wanted to provide a legacy for his wife and daughter should he not survive. Upon his release in 1973, he recorded that poetry and prose, now contained in the just published Taps on the Walls.

Senator John McCain, also a POW, provided the foreword for the book, concluding that “there are some stories of the soul that extend far beyond prison walls.”

“John Borling’s stirring poetry helped him and us keep going over the long, hard POW years in North Vietnam,” said Leo Thorsness, a fellow POW and Medal of Honor recipient. Gary Sinise said, “I have deep respect for the lifetimes of service and sacrifice of our military men and women. General Borling’s amazing book captures the essence of these qualities.” “Taps on the Walls…is a testimony to the power of the human spirit.” said Colonel (IL) J.N. Pritzker, IL ARNG, Ret.

The Library will launch the book with a free public reception on February 12, 2013 at 5 pm. Following the reception and filmed for public television, the Library will host a panel discussion about the American POW experience during three major conflicts. Panel participants include General Borling, Donald Casey, a World War II veteran and prisoner in the Stalag Luft III prison camp (The Great Escape prison camp), and retired Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, a Gulf War veteran and prisoner of war in that conflict. The panel will be moderated by retired General Ron Fogelman, former Air Force Chief of Staff.

For information about the reception or tickets for the program, please contact pritzkermilitarylibrary.org, or call the library at 312.374.9333.

About the Pritzker Military Library
The Pritzker Military Library, located at 104 S. Michigan Avenue in the Loop, directly across from Millennium Park and the Art Institute, collects and preserves materials related to the history of the American military and to the concept of the Citizen Soldier. 100% privately funded, it is the only organization of its kind in the United States.

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Nancy Houghton
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