Colonel "Bud" Day's National Legacy

Colonel Day grew up the Riverside area of Sioux City and was well known throughout the community but he became known nationally for his time served as an Air Force Fighter pilot and POW during the Vietnam War.

Colonel Bud Day was one of the most highly "decorated" officers in the nation receiving more than 70 medals and awards.

He is seen by many in the political and military worlds as a hero. Former Nebraska Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey says Day's character was truly something special.

The name Colonel George "Bud" Day has been a staple in Sioux City for decades.

After all, the air force fighter pilot who was captured during the Vietnam war and held prisoner for 5 1/2 years - enduring interrogation and abuse from his captors and not divulging any of America's best kept military secrets - is from good ol' Sioux City.

"It's kind of a long story I didn't just have one immediate incident I got shot down I escaped got recaptured was tortured a lot so it was kind of a long story," Col. Bud Day said in an interview with Siouxland News in 2001.

He went on to win the Medal of Honor and fought vigorously for Veteran Health Benefits - filing a case with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Former Governor and Senator of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey has known Bud for more than 40 years and met him through the Medal of Honor Society.

"I think anyone, regardless of your age, would look at Bud's life as an inspiration. Not just his accomplishments which we're considerable, but his character. Anybody that had the good fortune of knowing Bud would talk about his character at least as much as his accomplishments and that's the thing that you can look up to," Kerrey said.

Col. Day was a big supporter of Senator John McCain in the republican primary against George W. Bush in 2000 but Day's relationship with McCain was founded on much heavier ground.

"I had the honor of being buds friend for almost 5 decades of his 88 years. We met in 1967 when the Vietnamese left me to die in the prison cell Bud shared with Major Norris Overly. But Bud and Norris wouldn't let me die. They bathed me, fed me, nursed me encouraged me and ordered me back to life," McCain said.

McCain's statements came on the Senate Floor this morning where he recalled his special relationship with Col. Day.

"I always thought he would outlive us all. But he's gone now to a heaven I expect to imagine would look like an Iowa corn field in early winter filled with pheasants. I will miss Bud every day for the rest of my life. But I will see him again, I know I will. I'll hunt the field with him and I look forward to it," McCain said, with a tearful eye.

A Funeral service is planned late Thursday in Florida the Emerald Coast Conference Center with burial at Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola. There's no word yet on any local services.