By the Spring of 1970 the United States found itself entering a 5th year of combat operations in South Vietnam. Richard Nixon’s pledge of turning the war over through Vietnamization – that is, making the South take over the bulk of the fighting – was underway.

Yet hundreds of miles north, in cramped, filthy cells, American men, gaunt faced and weakened through years of deprivation and torture, struggled to exist as the sun made its ascent each day over the primeval surroundings known as the North Vietnamese prison system.

In these places, the war seemed without end, and humanity existed only among the captives as a cherished virtue soon to be drowned out by the bark of the guards or the monotonous voice blaring propaganda from a loudspeaker across the grounds. Here morale was the only weapon they had. That and a sidearm of sanity which faded a little more as the years passed.

Many wondered if they’d been forgotten or what finality waited for them. For some, it was too much. For others, they peered through the bars of their cells into the sky beyond the walls and remembered what once was.