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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bill Nelson pays tribute to Col. George 'Bud' Day



Sen. Bill Nelson this afternoon plans to give a speech in memory of Col. George "Bud" Day, who died Saturday in Florida.

"It's been said it is the soldier, not the activist, who has given us our most important freedoms," Nelson plans to say, according to a prepared speech. "In the case of Col. George "Bud" Day, that certainly is true. Col. Day was a good friend to one of our Senate colleagues, Sen. John McCain, and he was a constituent of mine as he lived in Shalimar, Florida.

"And it was there that Col. Day sadly passed away this weekend at the age of 88. Mr. President, I wanted to take a moment today to honor and remember this great American hero, who was one of the most highly decorated service members this country has ever seen.  Col. Day was a Medal of Honor recipient and veteran of WWII, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam.

"During the Vietnam War, Col. Day spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war after his F-100 fighter jet was shot down.  It was there, in Hanoi, that he and Sen. McCain became cellmates.

"When asked about their experience together, Sen. McCain said, “I owe my life to Bud, and much of what I know about character and patriotism.  He was the bravest man I ever knew."

"Col. Day returned to active duty after he regained his freedom and even returned to active flying status, retiring in 1977 as the Air Force’s most decorated officer.

"It's also been said that a nation can be judged by how it treats those who have borne its battles.  After he left the Air Force, Col. Day continued serving his community by practicing law and championing veteran’s issues.

"Mr. President, let's say a prayer of thanks that Col. Day helped preserve our freedoms.  I yield the floor."

[Last modified: Monday, July 29, 2013 1:15pm]


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