MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A local Medal of Honor recipient who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam died over the weekend.
Retired Air Force Colonel George "Bud" Day passed away at his home in Shalimar, Fla. Saturday, July 27 after a long illness.
Day was one of the nation's most highly decorated servicemen since General Douglas MacArthur, receiving more than 70 medals during his service.
He later became a tireless advocate for veterans' rights.
Here's what he told FOX10 News back in April of 2011.
"We need to keep the idea alive that this freedom is not free and someone has to step up to the plate and go fight and do the things you need to do a lot of that may involve deprivation and maybe dying but this republic is worth dying for," Day said.
Day fought in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.
While held as a prisoner in Vietnam, Day shared a cell with Senator John McCain.
Monday, July 29, on the Senate floor, McCain honored his friend.
"I had the honor of being Bud's friend for almost five 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 shared. "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 Day demanded constant resistance against their jailers, even singing the National Anthem when he had a rifle pointed at his face.
Day received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam.
McCain is expected to speak at day's funeral service, which is open to the public.
Visitation at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, August 1 Services start at 11 a.m.
After that, the funeral procession will travel down Highway 98 to Barrancas National Cemetery aboard NAS Pensacola.
Day will be buried there with full military honors at 3 p.m.
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