Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The management board of the Hỏa Lò Prison museum yesterday received memorabilia from the family of late US Commander Walter Eugene Wilber.
The memorabilia belonged to Wilber until his last days, said the commander’s son Thomas Eugene Wilber.
Memorabilia included a letter that Wilber wrote to his family from Hỏa Lò prison on January 22, 1970 and a matchbox that the Vietnamese Government presented Wilber when he was released back to US in February 1973.
The collection also includes a hat that the US government provided Wilber for the war in 1968, a cup and two clothing items that the pilot while imprisoned in Hỏa Lò as well as some pictures of Wilber before and after he was released to his home country.
The memorabilia will help bring people from the two sides closer. It also represents the humanity of the people from different countries who share the goal of a peaceful and cooperative world, the museum management board said.
Thomas Eugene Wilber said the memorabilia granting event coincided with the 87th birthday of his father.
When Wilber joined the war in Việt Nam, he was captured and imprisoned in Hỏa Lò and provided with food, clothes as well as considerable health care. He believed he was treated well in the prison, especially concerning the difficulties facing Vietnamese people at that time, said Wilber’s son.
The Americal pilot was shot down on June 16, 1968 over the central province of Nghệ An. His parachute landed in Thanh Chương District. Several days later, he arrived at Hỏa Lò Prison.
“Museum visitors are very much interested in the artifacts related to captain Wilber. These are valuable artifacts that reflect part of life prisoners of war in Hỏa Lò as well as the humanitarian policies of the Vietnamese government,” said tour guide Nguyễn Trường Giang.
On August 2016, Thomas Eugene Wilber granted 19 artifacts and documents of his father to Hỏa Lò museum, following the captain’s wish before he passed away. — VNS