Stories of Honor: The Story of the Spoon
CARIBOU, Maine (WAGM) -
The third Friday of September is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, a day to remember prisoners of war and nearly 82,000 Americans still missing in action. In recognition of their sacrifice, NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard brings us the story of a former prisoner of war from the County.
“My father was pretty much a happy go lucky man, he enjoyed everything in life”
Though Dennis Berube never experienced the horror’s of being a prisoner of war, he, as well as members of the Caribou VFW, recall the story of his father, George Berube.
“He was in two different wars, he was a WWII vet and then passionately rejoined the military and went off to Korea where he became a PoW and was wounded.” says Roger Felix – Commander, Caribou VFW
“For him it took a long time for him to actually come out and talk about it. I know the day that he got captured they were overrun by Chinese, it was like 20 to 1 or some ungodly odds. He ended up spending right at two years in the camp and they did whatever they could to survive.”
Berube went on to explain how his father and fellow PoW’s would use fishing line and a hook to steal chickens in the middle of the night from his captors because they were only provided with a small amount of insect laden rice for food each day.
“He made this spoon, in their combat boots they had steel support arches in them, so he made that spoon out of that so he could make it easier to eat his rice and he shared that spoon with his commrades”
And so the Story of the Spoon was born. Berube’s Military Decorations, along with the famous spoon are prominently displayed at the Caribou VFW. Berube made the spoon in secret, shaping it over the course of many pain staking hours, and having to conceal the spoon from his captors both on and in his person throughout the 2 years he was held captive. In addition to being held captive, they also forced the prisoners on brutal death marches, forcing them to dig their own graves as a form of psychological warfare.
“I weighed 154 pounds when I went in and I weighed 91 pounds when I came out” says George Berube in archive footage recounting his time as a prisoner of war to WAGM in response to the 1999 capture of 3 soldiers in Yugoslavia.
Berube was freed with the signing of the Armistice that ended the war in 1953. Despite what he endured, a newspaper article covering his return home stated that he “considered reenlistment”
“Any POW/MIA day or any day that we’re honoring veterans, remember that we’re also honoring the families, we’re honoring anyone that remembers those people and we want to make sure that no one ever forgets them.” says Felix.
“They’re out there fighting for our freedom, and he would do it all over again.” says Berube.
“If they called me up, I’d gladly go” says George Berube in archive footage, reacting to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11th, 2001.
George Berube passed away in 2012 at the age of 87.
Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8
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