BLISS ON LIFE For former POW Ronald Bliss, every moment matters

For lawyers accustomed to billing their time by the quarter-hour, 2,374 around-the-clock days would seem like a fair amount of time. But for Houston attorney Ronald G. Bliss, 60, a partner in Fulbright & Jaworski’s Intellectual Property & Technology department, the time he spent as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, from September 4, 1966, to March 4, 1973, seemed like an eternity.

Subjected to torture, lengthy spells of solitary confinement, and demoralizing living conditions, the young pilot struggled to survive. “Sometimes it was [thoughts of] your family that got you through; some days you dreamed of places you’d go, houses you’d build, jobs you’d have, where you were going to take your wife, how you’d raise your kids,” says Bliss.“Some days… you’d just look at the guard when he opened the door and… if he didn’t like how you bowed, he’d clip you a couple of times, and you’d have to say to yourself: ‘You can’t kill me today. I’m going to live for that.’ And some days that was all you had left.”

Life for Bliss began in 1943 in Buckeye, Arizona, but his family moved to southern California before his first birthday. At age ten, he and his family moved to Cheyenne,Wyoming, where he remained until leaving home at age seventeen to attend the United States Air Force Academy.

For as long as he can remember, aviation has been in his blood. One of Bliss’ early childhood memories is he and his father, who worked for a defense contractor, watching legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager prepare for flight in the new X-1 aircraft in 1947, the day Yeager broke the sound barrier.

Other Books You Might Be Interested In

Contact Us