Houston & Peach

Commission meeting becomes a lesson in sacrifice

Korean War POW Bill Freeman remembers hardships

Bill Freeman, who was a prisoner of war in Korea, recalled his experiences at a Houston County Commission meeting in 2018 in which he was recognized along with two other POWs.
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Bill Freeman, who was a prisoner of war in Korea, recalled his experiences at a Houston County Commission meeting in 2018 in which he was recognized along with two other POWs.

Three men who were once held prisoner of war came to the Houston County Commission meeting on Wednesday to remember those who didn’t return.

Crawford Hicks, a B-17 pilot held prisoner by the Germans in World War II; Bill Freeman, held prisoner during the Korean War; and James Sehorn, a Vietnam War prisoner, each spoke about their experiences. They were there for a ceremony to set up a chair and POW/MIA flag in the courthouse rotunda to remember those who haven’t returned.

Hicks, who was captured after his plane was shot down, told how he and his fellow prisoners were freed by Gen. George Patton in 1945. He remembered seeing the U.S. flag raised in the prison camp.

“We saw that flag go up and we cried,” said Hicks, a Warner Robins resident. “We all cried. It meant so much. It meant we were free. It meant we were going home.”

Freeman, who lives in Macon, was held prisoner for 930 days.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you don’t know the atrocities that went on during the Korean War,” he said. “It was something that’s hard to believe.”

Sehorn was held prisoner for more than five years after being shot down over North Vietnam. He rose to the rank of brigadier general in the Air Force after his release and now lives in Warner Robins.

“Those who put their lives on the line for freedom have a greater passion for it,” he said.

The visit of the POWs was arranged by the local chapter of Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle group devoted to bringing full accountability for all POWs and those missing in action. They have been placing flags and chairs in other locations around Houston County, and they also plan to put the same display at the courthouse annex.

“There are family members in the state of Georgia that are still waiting for their father, still waiting for their mother, still waiting for their uncle,” said Buster Hickam, president of chapter.

He also said that in September, about 200 POWs from around the country have been invited to come to Warner Robins for an event to honor them.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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