Vietnam POW builds Traveling Memorial Wall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vietnam POW builds Traveling Memorial Wall

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The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is making a stop in South Georgia.

Rolling Thunder's annual "The Ride Home" event brings it to the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University to remember military service members.

143 former Prisoner's of War and 22 missing in action families are taking part in this years event.

A POW from the Vietnam War told us his story.

While Bill Arcuri looks at the names on the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, he remembers a day that changed his life, December 20th 1972.

"Our plane got hit by three surface air missiles after we hit the target," says Bill Arcuri, Former POW.

Traveling 500 miles per hour, all six crew members were forced to eject from the plane.

Bill had dislocated both of his knees when he hit the ground.

"A little Vietnamese guy shouldered his AK47, grabbed my ankle, but his foot in my crotch and popped my knee into joint," says Arcuri.

He was dragged into the village where he was a prisoner of war for 55 days and in that time he lost 55 pounds.

He was beaten and interrogated, and he was one of the lucky ones.

"I feel blessed that I came home and guilty that we lost my crew members," says Arcuri.

Only four out of the six crew members made it home.

"My two crew members are right here, Warren R. Spencer and Craig A. Paul," says Arcuri.

He is in Americus as part of Rolling Thunder's annual "The Ride Home" event, an opportunity for him to honor the men and women who fought and died in the war.

"There are men here who were beaten, shot at, stabbed, stood in line while men were killed in front of them for mental torture. All of that occurred and nobody knows it," says Jim "Mo" Moyer, Rolling Thunder GA/FL Director.

So he is doing his part to make sure their stories are told.

"As part of Rolling Thunder, it is what I live for, I cannot thank enough, I want to take their story and give it to the country and let them know these are the men and women who gave for you," says Moyer.

Moyer says many Prisoners of War from World War II and Korea never got a thank you or warm welcome when they came home.

"It means a lot to me, when I got out I put everything behind and did not want to talk about it," says Arcuri

But now he is ready to tell his story.

Less than 1 percent of the American population serve in the armed forces.

National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day is tomorrow.

For a complete schedule of weekend events in Americus and at the National POW Museum in Andersonville, click www.theridehome.com

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