UPDATE: Sioux City honors its native son Colonel George "Bud" Day
Sioux City Col. George E. Day Memorial Service
Sioux City flags at half staff.
Col. Brian Miller, 185th Air Refueling Wing Commander
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
A week ago, Sioux City lost its beloved "Bud" Day. He may be gone, but it was clear Saturday, this hero is not forgotten, especially in his hometown.
Marine, Soldier, Airman. POW, Patriot, Friend, and Father. So many words to describe Colonel George "Bud" Day, and all were expressed at Saturday's service.
"The colonel was a warrior's warrior," said Siouxland Chamber of Commerce President Chris McGowan.
"Col. Day was one of the most outstanding men that they ever knew. Great pilot, great role model, great leader, great friend. Great, great, great, great," added Msgt John Sandman, of the 185th Air Refueling Wing.
"Bud was tenacious in any situation in which he found himself. He never gave up, he never gave in," Day's cousin Geri told the crowd of 1,000.
Day served in three wars, in three different military branches. By the time he retired, he's received every combat medal awarded, during his 35 years of service.
"The medals say a lot about Bud, but they cannot capture his unbreakable spirit," said 185th Commander, Col. Brian Miller.
Not even five years and seven months as a prison of war in Vietnam.
"He went through unspeakable torture and unspeakable suffering," said U.S. Rep. Steve King.
Eventually, he came home. His love for his country was undeniable. And so was his love for Sioux City. His family talked about it in a letter read during the service.
"Bud learned everything he really needed to know, while growing up in Sioux City," read Col. Stephanie Samenus, also with the 185th, the air guard base where the service was held..
"Those of you who know him best can imagine that he is sitting at a table, enjoying a Twin Bing, sipping white zin, and ever the fighter pilot, sharing pointers with a few attentive angels," surmised McGowan.
"I look forward to walking those fields with Bud Day again. Bud Day has taken rank with those American heroes that inspired him," King added.
The once living legend's story of unmatched bravery is sure to keep soaring, as family and friends say a final goodbye.
"It was on this day, a week ago, that he took his last breath before his final flight," read Samenus.
"…and with his final breath, whispered, 'home.' Colonel Day is home now, and once again did what he promised he would always do: Return with honor," McGowan said, choking back tears.
"We give you thanks for sharing the life of George E. Bud Day with us," retired Chaplain Merrill Muller said during the invocation.
"Now Bud belongs to the ages," added Geri.
Day was 88-years-old when he passed away from throat cancer on July 27th.
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