We recently sat down with Barbara Wyatt, who wrote and compiled the book We Came Home: The Firsthand Stories of Vietnam POWs, to recount how she collected the dozens of raw personal letters from American POWs during the Vietnam War who finally came home thanks to the successful Operation Homecoming in 1973. She also shared with us why she thinks it is important for the younger generation to continue honoring the sacrifices made by these men and to keep these gut-wrenching memoirs alive.

Author Barbara Wyatt

American POWs’ “Messages Need To Be Saved”

Barbara recalled being amongst the crowd who witnessed the bittersweet arrival of the American Prisoners of War (POWs) on 12 February 1973. As she watched these men coming off the three C-141 (coming from North Vietnam) planes and one C-9A (coming from South Vietnam) aircraft, she immediately realized how imperative it was to preserve the messages each of these men had brought home. “Their messages need to be saved,” she told her husband, Captain Frederic Wyatt, USNR.

By the time she woke up the next morning, Barbara had already planned how she’d go about it and recalled saying, “I’m going to write to each one of them.”