Former Vietnam War POW recalls time in captivity (Norman McDaniel)

The Unity Masonic Lodge honored veterans this week with a dinner, a presentation on the history of America’s flag and a speech from retired Air Force Col. Norman McDaniel, a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than six years.

The flag presentation, “building the flag,” was given by members of the National Sojourners, an organization affiliated with the Freemasons. Chapter President Richard Radi, Commander Charlie Davis and camp follower Irene Mertens presented a Velcro flag and built it stripe by stripe, star by star, explaining their origin and significance as they went.

McDaniel served as the event’s keynote speaker, delivering a lively, animated address to an audience of freemasons and guests on the horrors of war and the importance of faith and perseverance in the face of danger and adversity.

McDaniel, originally of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was a member of a technical reconnaissance crew flying his 51st combat mission on board an EB66C bomber plane when the plane was shot down. The plane had had its bomb bay closed off and was reconfigured for electronic warfare support, McDaniel said. The mission involved orbiting at roughly 30,000 feet in the target area for about a half hour and monitoring the enemy’s surface to air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery and relaying that information to other aircraft.

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