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Funeral Procession stretches along Highway 98 to NAS Pensacola
An outpouring of patriotism and pride for Colonel George Bud Day. The Patriot Guard on their motorcycles, hundreds of mourners paying their respects. Still more people lining Highway 98 from Fort Walton Beach to Barrancas National Cemetery. This is the way Northwest Florida honors an American hero.
Colonel Bud Day was a tough guy. That's what Senator John McCain had to say today at the Emerald Coast Convention Center. He was so tough, the Senator said, you couldn't imagine him yielding to anything, not even the laws of nature.
McCain was among 1500 people paying their respects to one of America's most decorated service members, a veteran of three wars. He met Colonel Day almost fifty years ago, when he was near death in a Vietnamese prison.
John McCain said, "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 Bud Day was a fierce resister, who helped him preserve self-respect and honor.
Senator McCain said, "To witness him singing the national anthem in response to having a rifle pointed at his face, well that was something to behold, unforgettable."
Jean Dutton family friend said, "Well he always did the right things, and loved his country and wanted to make sure that people were treated right."
Jean Dutton's husband was a prisoner of war too. She says Days later role in getting veterans Tricare for life was another example of his character.
Rev. Ray Angerman said, "Bud greeted everyone. Even to the littlest children in the church, they wre important to him, No one was unimportant."
Reverend Ray Angerman has known the Days for 30 years. He says Bud Day loved his country, but his family most of all. Day's son shared some of his father's last words to them....a remembrance of coming home after five and a half years as a prisoner of war.
George Day, Jr. said, "Their goodness and love lighted my spirit as the rising sun gives the morning flowers. I basked in an amazing joy; all those prayers are answered."
Colonel Day told his pastor a couple of weeks ago he never thought he'd be around this long…he thought he'd make his departure a lot earlier. But now, he said, I'm ready to go home.
A military service was conducted graveside this afternoon at Barrancas National Cemetery aboard NAS Pensacola. Colonel Day was honored with a 21-gun salute and four f-4 phantoms from Tyndall Air Force Base flew over in the missing man formation.