(Washington, D.C.)–– William A. Robinson, who spent more than seven-and-a-half years as a Vietnam War prisoner of war, will give the Keynote Speech to close out the Opening Ceremonies at Vietnam Veterans of America’s 17th biennial National Convention on Wednesday morning, July 22, at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois. The event is free and open to the public.
While serving as a crew chief aboard a U.S. Air Force Rescue helicopter, Airman First Class Robinson was shot down and captured in North Vietnam on September 20, 1965. After a brief time in the Hanoi Hilton, he was held until 1973 in a series of other brutal North Vietnamese POW camps. He is the longest-held enlisted POW in American military history.
“Bill Robinson is an engaging speaker and has an amazing and inspiring story to tell,” said VVA National President John Rowan. “I am sure his Keynote will be one of the most memorable events of the Convention, and will get off to a rousing start.”
More than eight-hundred delegates from VVA chapters across the country will join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests in Springfield, along with members of the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA), which will also be holding its National Convention.
In addition to Bill Robinson, other special guests who will take part in the Convention include Vietnam veterans Duery Felton, the former curator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection; Walter Anderson, the writer, playwright, and former long-time editor-in-chief of Parade magazine; and Dr. Timothy Miller, the renowned plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Felton, Anderson, and Miller will be honored at the Awards Banquet on Saturday night, July 25.