Collage of Major General John Borling speaking during Veterans Day ceremony

A Veterans Day ceremony took place on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at Belvidere North High School.

Guest speaker Major General John Borling spoke to students and staff about his time as a prisoner of war. 

Borling was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, where he was shot down by ground fire. Seriously injured in his crash, Captain Borling still attempted to commandeer a Vietnamese supply truck for his escape. He was able to gain control of a supply truck, but the truck was carrying Vietnamese regulars. Captain Borling was soon overpowered by the soldiers and would spend the next 6½ years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. Borling was released on February 12, 1973.

Major General Borling talked about his experiences while being held captive at the infamous Hoa Lo prison, also known as Hanoi Hilton. That's where he started communicating with other prisoners using a forbidden “POW tap code.” There were messages and prayers. For Borling, there also was the poetry that would become the foundation of his book, “Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton.”

He also spoke to the students directly about achieving their dreams, reaching their goals in life and believing in themselves.