In his 2012 speech Ben described, the turning point of incarceration in POW camps, when dear friends Otis Morgan and Henry Leitner saved his life. He had already survived a journey in two bombed “Hell Ships,” arriving as among the only one out of four who survived.
His three words for us are: survival, loyalty and faith.
Survival, the word that honors the most horrible of ordeals. When people help each other with the aftermath of trauma-survival, often initially there is false guilt. Did I deserve to live? Eventually, with the the loyalty and faith which helped make life possible, the word survivor comes to mean so much. A gentle pride in living to tell the story.
What comes to mind for you for survival, loyalty and faith. Don’t we all in one way or another, owe our lives to these three words?
The survivors who also marched are: The survivors include: San Juan “Sam” Antonio, Julio Barela, Harold A. Bergbower, Valdemar “Val” DeHerrera, William Lyle “Bill” Eldridge, Glenn D. Frazier, William C. “Bill” Overmier, Milton “Pete” Pearce, Oscar L. Leonard, John L. Mims, Dionisio “Don” Perez, Leonard L. Robinson, Eugene William “Gene” Schmitz, Ben Skardon, Henry G. “Grady” Stanley and Richard Allen Trask.