American POWs Share Stories of Enduring Love After War | #lovescams | #military | #datingscams

Tammy’s job put her in contact with VIPs, and some conspired to foster a romance between the couple. Everett invited her to a White House gala for returning prisoners hosted by President Richard Nixon, and the ex-POW stayed in D.C. for a week afterward as the romance flourished. They wed 49 years ago.

Talking about their union, he says: “It’s very important to support each other’s dreams. We never go to bed angry, we say our prayers before falling asleep, and we say, ‘I love you.’” 

Tom and Yona McNish, San Antonio

Tom McNish, flying an Air Force F-105 Thunderchief, was shot down over North Vietnam in September 1966. After months of “torture and starvation,” he escaped mentally by fantasizing about his ideal wife.

a couple smiles for a photo on their wedding day. she is wearing a long sleeved white dress, and he is wearing a white air force dress uniform

Tom and Yona McNish were set up by mutual friends after he returned from Vietnam.

Courtesy Tom and Yona McNish

She would be Christian, tall, brunette, never married, no kids. He planned to date for a year but not get serious — with anybody.

In Alabama, his future wife, Yona, had married and had two daughters. In 1965, she got to know a woman at a beauty salon who also had two kids. The friend’s husband was shot down in Vietnam, and Yona had her own cross to bear: Her husband succumbed to cancer.

When five POWs returned to Maxwell Air Force Base, Yona accompanied her friend to a welcome home ceremony. At the microphone Tom gave thanks, then blurted out: “I’m a 30-year-old bachelor with a lot of living to catch up on!”

“Right on, baby!” Yona cried out, though Tom didn’t hear her. Still, mutual friends set them up — never mind that Yona was 5 feet, 2 inches, blond and Jewish.

Tom’s prison fantasy went up in flames as their courtship heated up. They were inseparable. They recall being feted at a White House celebration and remember, around midnight, Nixon decreeing: “The band will keep playing and the bartenders will keep pouring until the last one of you leaves.”

Tom proposed to Yona in the White House Green Room, and their marriage has lasted 48 years. After the war he became a physician and, later, the chief of flight medicine for the Air Force.

The couple, who also have a son, say they share values including Judeo-Christian beliefs about right versus wrong.

Tom loves the Hebrew word beshert, meaning destiny, or in this case “one person whom an individual is destined to marry.”

Says Yona: “It was just meant to be.”                     

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