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US veteran’s wartime letters donated to Vietnam’s Hoa Lo Prison

Thursday, August 18, 2016, 10:13 GMT+7

The family of a U.S. veteran gifted a number of wartime artifacts to Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi, giving a glimpse of what POW life was like in the prison.

The management board of Hoa Lo Prison held a ceremony on August 15 to receive several war memorials from the family of veteran Walter Eugene Wilber, a U.S. pilot detained in the Vietnamese prison from 1968 to 1973

The veteran’s collection included letters sent from Vietnam to his wife and son, a newspaper with articles about his situation, and wrapping paper from the gifts his son, Thomas Eugene Wilber, sent him.

Speaking at the ceremony, Thomas said his father brought the memorials back to the U.S. from Hoa Lo Prison in Vietnam.

Many of the papers in the collection have been collected and stored for decades, he added.

According to Thomas, his family decided to present the collection as a way to thank the Vietnamese government for its humanitarian policies toward U.S. prisoners during the war that ended in 1975.

The management board of Hoa Lo Prison highly appreciated the contribution of the Walter family, and encouraged other individuals and organizations to help build the prison’s collection of information, documents, and memorials of the American war in Vietnam.

At the event, Vietnamese writer Dang Vuong Hung presented Thomas with 'Phi Cong My O Viet Nam' (U.S. Pilots in Vietnam), a book featuring an article about Walter Eugene Wilber.

On June 16, 1968, Walter was captured in Nghe An, a province situated in the north-central region, after his airplane was shot down. 

He was detained in Hoa Lo Prison for five years.

On February 12, 1973, Walter was handed over to the U.S. Government in line with the Paris Peace Accords, according to local newswire Vietnamplus.

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