Former prisoners of war enjoy prosperity, peace now (Lawrence Barbay)

If captured by the enemy and imprisoned during wartime, American servicemembers must summon the highest levels of courage.

A pair of retired lieutenant colonels in Texas knows all too well what it’s like to be stripped of freedoms and have their patriotism and faith put to the test.

Lawrence Barbay was shot down during the Vietnam War, in July 1966, and spent more than six-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war. He now lives in Austin.

Ramon Horinek was shot down over North Vietnam in October 1967 and spent over five years in captivity. He now lives in Universal City.

The men were imprisoned together in the same holding area at the Hoa Lo prison, known by many veterans as the “Hanoi Hilton.” Both came home to the United States in March 1973, as the historically slow Paris peace talks finally brought the end of the war, but each had to endure harsh conditions that tested their willpower.

“The first week was probably my worst of the entire time I was there,” Mr. Horinek said this week. “My captors were really tough on me when I first arrived and it was a real struggle. One prisoner already there asked me when I thought we might go home. I told him it would probably be no less than five years. That’s just the way it was going over there at that point.

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