During the course of his military career, Bud Day won every
available combat medal, escaped death on no less than seven
occasions, and spent 67 months as a POW in the infamous
Hanoi Hilton, along with John McCain. Despite sustained
torture, Day would not break. He became a hero to POWs
everywhere--a man who fought without pause, not a
prisoner of war, but a prisoner at war.
Upon his return, passed over for promotion to Brigadier
General, Day retired. But years later, with his children grown
and a lifetime of service to his country behind him, he would
engage in another battle, this one against an opponent he
never had expected: his own country. On his side would be
the hundreds of thousands of veterans who had fought for
America only to be betrayed. And what would happen next
would make Bud Day an even greater legend.
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Little, Brown and Company
May 02, 2007
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Excerpt from American Patriot by Robert Coram
Out in the clean and sweetly rolling plains of the Midwest, out where Iowa and Nebraska and South Dakota come together, is a region called Siouxland - a place far removed from the swirling trends that wash over the dynamic cities of the East and West Coasts. This is the heartland, the stable and rock-solid core of America, and here the virtues long thought of as uniquely American are as real and ever-present as the wind across the prairie. Sophisticated people say the Midwest is "flyover country," a dull and boring place where exciting things rarely happen. But the people of Siouxland know that the very things America finds amusing about them are, in fact, their greatest strengths.
Sioux City, Iowa, is the best-known town in Siouxland. Only a few generations earlier, Sioux City had been the edge of civilization, the place where people stocked up on provisions before jumping into the wild Dakota Territories. Sioux City was as far up the Missouri as steamboats could travel. The railroad ended here. The first burial of a soldier west of the Mississippi River was that of Sergeant Charles Floyd, a member of Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery who sickened and died here on August 20, 1804. The largest monument honoring a member of the Corps of Discovery is the one-hundred-foot-tall sandstone obelisk known as the Floyd Monument in Sioux City. Afterward, Sioux City became a trail-end sort of town where cowboys brought cows and hogs to local meatpacking houses. Brothels and gambling and useless violence were big in Sioux City.
Two prominent geographic features help define Sioux City: the Missouri River and the Loess Hills. The mighty Missouri is one of America's most fabled and historic rivers while the Loess Hills are sharp-crested sand dunes formed centuries ago from windblown silt. Comparable hills are found in China, but the Loess Hills that run along the western border of Iowa and up through Sioux City are the longest in the world. On the edge of Sioux City, the Missouri is joined by the Big Sioux River. On the alluvial plain along the Big Sioux is a jam-packed suburb of small frame houses. This is Riverside, separated from Sioux City by the Loess Hills.
Riverside is a big part of the reason that Iowa and the rest of the Midwest looked down on Sioux City for much of the twentieth century. Riverside was the bad side of town - the home of roughnecks, the uneducated, and those on the windy side of the law. Here, grifters, hustlers, and bootleggers lived alongside railroad workers and those who worked in meatpacking houses. During the 1920s, tunnels under many Riverside homes served as hideouts for bank robbers who terrorized the Midwest; there were even stories that Al Capone visited when things got hot in Chicago. Dozens of illegal rat-hole bars were here, open seven days a week and known far and wide for their bloody fights. People in Riverside were so poor that in the winter they went over to the South Bottoms and waded into the Floyd River, where they scooped up buckets of fat, formed by congealed runoff from the stockyards, to use for cooking or for making soap.
Most people in Riverside accepted their lot in life. They were too busy eking out an existence to do otherwise. Only a few had the desire to get out and get up - to seek a better life. And of those few with the desire, even fewer made it.