Day was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, where he was credited with keeping the other prisoners strong during brutal interrogations.
Siouxland Chamber of Commerce director, Chris McGowan, says Day held a special place with his fellow veterans.
“Among those Medal of Honor recipients, among those POW’s, Colonel Day was a man among men and a legend, snd someone that they all wanted to spend quality time with,” McGowans says. “Because he was a man of the highest personal and professional integrity, a true warrior, and a patriot in every sense of the word.”
Iowa Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, was a friend of Day’s and described him this way. “A relentless warrior spirit, and a patriot and a good Christian man and a family man,” King says. “Of those who I have had the privilege of being around — and I’ve met some extraordinary people — I think that we have lost America’s greatest hero. He was America’s greatest living hero, and now Bud Day takes ranks with the giants in American history.”
A statue at the Sioux Gateway Airport honors Day, and King says he would like to see the airport renamed to honor Day. “I will never forget unveiling the nine-foot tall bronze statue out there when we named the airstrip after Bud Day. I like the name Sioux Gateway Airport, but I would like it a lot better if it was named Bud Day Airport,” King says.
Arizona Senator John McCain — one of the other POWs in the “Hanoi Hilton” in Vietnam with Day– released a statement on Day’s death:
“Today brings the sad news that my dear friend and comrade, Colonel George E. ‘Bud’ Day, USAF (Ret.) has passed away. I owe my life to Bud, and much of what I know about character and patriotism. He was the bravest man I ever knew, and his fierce resistance and resolute leadership set the example for us in prison of how to return home with honor. I will have much more to say about Bud’s courage, kindness and sense of honor and duty this week. For now, I want to draw Americans’ attention to the passing of this good man and great patriot, and to extend my deepest, most heartfelt condolences to Bud’s wife, Dorie and his children. I will miss him terribly.”