POWs Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Freedom

Nearly 150 former American Prisoners of War from the Vietnam War gathered in the East Room of the Nixon Library on Wednesday for a re-creation of the White House homecoming celebration dinner fifty years to the day of that historic evening.

On May 24, 1973 President and Mrs. Nixon hosted the largest dinner in White House history in honor of the Vietnam POWs. Video clips from the 1973 celebration were played throughout the evening while the former POWs and their guests were served a menu that mirrored the original White House dinner.

POWs Everett Alvarez and Thomas Hanton welcomed those in the East Room and paid tribute to America’s MIAs. The program included remarks from Dr. Henry Kissinger, Senator Tom Carper, Ross Perot, Jr. and Ambassador Robert C. O’Brien.

Special guests included Tricia Nixon Cox, the eldest daughter of President and Mrs. Nixon, and Edward Cox, both of whom attended the 1973 White House dinner; Melanie Eisenhower, the youngest granddaughter of President and Mrs. Nixon; Governor and Mrs. Pete Wilson; Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Ambassador of Qatar to the United States; Medal of Honor recipient Bob Patterson; and Benjamin Watson, Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division.

Then, just as in 1973, the dinner ended with everyone singing God Bless America.