Meet Our Speakers
Lou de Beer grew up in the Netherlands with his naturalized American parents. When Germany invaded Holland at the beginning of WWII, his father and older brother were taken away. Lou, his mother and younger brother soon followed, being taken to SS guarded camps for the duration of the war. Lou saw atrocities committed by German solders towards the Jews that he will never forget.
Tom Crosby grew up in Manila, Philippines with his American parents. Life was good until the Japanese soldiers invaded the Philippines and took his family and thousands of others captive. Many historians and history teachers who never lived through this atrocity, claimed these camps were "for their safe keeping." But for Tom, who was there and lived through this time, differs after witnessing beatings and executions of prisoners trying to escape, watching 500 of his fellow prisoners die of starvation, and the young boys, such as he and his brother, being used as hostages by the Japanese army when the U.S. Cavalry arrived to free them.
Neil Black was a troubled youth that ended up in the Air Force. With only a few days left to his tour in the Vietnam war, he and his rescue crew were captured by the Viet Cong to be delivered to the steps of the notorious “Hanoi Hilton.” He was captive for 2,703 days.
Lewis Meyer was a civilian fireman in Da Nang when he was captured by the North Vietnamese. He ended up at the "Hilton" where he was tortured. Being released after 1,880 days of captivity to a life of freedom was hard on Lewis. But with the help of the VA and opening up to friends about what he went through, it has lifted some of the burden off Lew’s shoulders.
James Bedinger story is a remarkable one and he still has a sense of humor about it. Even though he spent 1,223 days in captivity under the thumb of the North Vietnamese, Jim’s time in the "Hanoi Hilton" gave him an opportunity to get to know some real heroes. Faith, Hope and Courage kept Jim grounded throughout his life.
Jose Astorga endured more than most people could being shot several times and then seeing his fellow crewmen burn up in the crashed helicopter. He tried escaping from his Viet Cong captors only to be caught and then threatened with execution. He spent 337 days of his life as a prisoner at the "Hanoi Hilton." Returning to normal life has been elusive for Jose who still suffers from PTSD .
Captain Jack Ensch was a captive at the hands of North Vietnamese for 216 days. He suffered major injuries while being ejected from his damaged aircraft. He was operated on without anesthesia. Through Hope, Faith, Courage, and Family, Captain Jack has weathered the storm.
More films coming from Bill Lowe