The title of this book reflects that it is a book about being locked up with God. This happened to me during the Vietnam War. I was an American prisoner of war - P.O.W. I spent over five years in a prison, and there I was with God and only God besides a few cellmates.
This is mainly a book of the speeches I have given over the last decade or so that reflect my experience as a war prisoner. I have integrated the stories and experience of this period of my life with the faith and experiences of my life since.
The talks have been transcribed and placed together here. I have refined and polished them. Some are shorter than others because of the various time constraints. I have selected what I felt were my best. They have been sorted by category as the table of contents reflects.
However, I placed the first in its own category and titled it My General Talk. This is the one I most commonly give. It gives a good general overview of my experiences in the Vietnam War and my total dependence on and trust in the Maker.
The second category titled Faith all relate to deep spiritual truths that I have grown to love and respect because of my initial experiences as a POW. To get through five years in a prison camp under horrible conditions was a real journey of faith. I returned to this country an entirely different man. I had grown in my faith. I had learned how to trust God, to love Him and to forgive others. These talks reflect what being locked up with God for five years did to me.
The third category titled Family and Manhood reflect what has occurred to me and what I hold out as ideal in regard to being a man and a father and husband of a family. I have been through much in my lifetime. I have had and raised a large family. I am now old and have had time to reflect what is important and what means the most. I have also made many mistakes in my life and only by the grace of God have made it to this point and still have a family. This category is given to help young men get off to a good start.
The best way to learn is by experience. That is, the experience of others who have been through it and made all the mistakes one can possibly make. This is the case with me. I am offering these three speeches to all young men so that they can profit by my life of having to learn the hard way. If young men can read these, they won't have to fall and struggle as I have had to do. They can fly high and have a very productive life being a man and, if called, also a father and husband of a family.
The final category of talks titled War and Patriotism include those that give more detailed stories of my combat and POW experiences in South and North Vietnam. This war is history and most don't even remember it, but reflecting on a war and hearing what a person has experienced who lived through one can help anyone to grow in love of country.
The reader, if he or she is a soldier, can also learn much in case they are ever called to be in a war. Being in the military is a vocation all by itself. It is a vocation of love because a soldier is ready to lay down his or her life for another both in the combat zone or wherever they are called to serve their country. A soldier must be ready to not only die for others but also suffer as I did and many others did in an enemy prisoner of war compound.
This category also includes a talk about leadership. This will help any young man or woman know what it takes to be a great leader.
There is also a speech about Lance Sijan and one that was given at an Air Force Base to honor two other Medal of Honor winners, Bud Day and Leo Thorsness. Reflecting about the life of real heroes always does a soldier good, for all soldiers are called to be heroes in their vocation of love.
I hope and pray that this book helps our country be great and remain great for ages to come. I will soon die as all do, but words never die, and my hope is that these words will go on helping my American brothers and sisters making it such.