NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – The daughter of a prisoner of war veteran honored her father and other veterans during a speech at Craven Community College’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day flag raising.
Christine Gandee described her father Cpl. George Aswad as “a David in a world of Goliaths,” and detailed his experience as a POW.
“About 120 men were held in a school house with my father,” Gandee said. “”At night, they were each given a bowl of rutabaga soup, which was a bowl of water with a rutabaga in it.”
Gandee and family members said it was one last way to pay honor to him and others who served.
“I was able to talk about my father and share him with other people,” Gandee said. “I was able to connect with other veterans.”
Patricia Aswad, Aswad’s daughter-in-law, said she also appreciated the opportunity to honor the veterans who went through those experiences.
“It’s amazing to everyone who has served to be honored in this way, to be remembered because we always have to remember,” Aswad said.
Gandee said she hope it brings awareness to something many may not think about.
“They don’t understand what is involved,” said Gandee, “to have all the things we take for granted on a daily basis just stripped from them.”
Wayne Barrett is the president of the school’s Collegiate Veterans Association and is a veteran himself. He said hearing Aswad’s story meant more than he could have imagined.
“It was a moving story,” said Barnett. “I think everyone in the audience was just moved by it. The reality of it is that it brings it right to your front door step.”
Grandee said her father’s experience is what made him great, and today’s ceremony provided closure.
“It was a final farewell,” Grandee said.