I was set free on 4 March 1973, and immediately flown to Clark Air Force base in the Philippines. Hot showers, steaks, peanut-butter sandwiches and thousands of smiling faces were on hand to welcome me back.
On 7 March 1973, I returned to San Diego, California, where I was greeted by my wife, Marlene, and our two sons, John Jr. and Richard. In the drawing I tried to express all the joy and happiness my heart felt in that reunion. The years of waiting for this moment were suddenly forgotten. Then I realized how great it was just to be alive, to be wanted and loved, and most of all, to be an American.
As so many of my friends and comrades said, as they stepped from the giant Air Force C-141s to the land of the free, "God Bless America!"