Natchez knew a great hero

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 4, 2009

Every community has its heroes, but not every hero is the same. Natchez just lost one of its heroes and one of America’s heroes, too.

The seven years Col. Jack Pitchford spent in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp were years none of us can even imagine.

Even another local POW, Robert Mims, admits that his time imprisoned overseas wasn’t as bad as Pitchford’s imprisonment.

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Pitchford, injured and shot already, was tortured mentally and physically for years at the infamous Hanoi Hilton.

Even the strength it must have taken to survive seems unimaginable.

But even upon his release and return to Natchez, he willingly returned to serving his country as commander of the Air Force Communications Security Center, in Montgomery, Ala.

Later, back in Natchez, Pitchford became a friend to his neighbors, often checking in on them and offering help.

Sadly, Natchez’s hero died this week.

In Natchez, we don’t have to imagine our heroes; we have plenty.

But we’ll never have another Col. Pitchford, for he was a hero among heroes.

He will be missed and we’ll always be grateful for the sacrifices he made for our country.