JAMESTOWN, N.C. -- We all go through struggles in life and down hard widening difficult paths. But as Porter Halyburton explains, it’s how you come out of it, that matters the most.

Halyburton is a retired Navy Commander and a North Vietnam POW. He was a Naval Aviator when he was shot down over North Vietnam in 1965 and taken as prisoner.

On Tuesday, he spoke with the Rotary Club in Jamestown about the lessons he learned as a POW.

Halyburton talked not just about the torture the prisoners endured but the lessons he learned that got him through the most difficult times of life.

Lesson 1
Your Life Is Determined By The Choices You Make

Halyburton said, “It’s not so much about what happens to you or the things you can’t control. Instead, it’s how you react to whatever happens to you.”

Lesson 2
You Need To Have a Sense of Humor

Halyburton said, “Things just got so bad sometimes that you just had to laugh at it to get through it.”
He also brought up a story about one of his fellow POWs in North Vietnam. He said his buddy was tortured for weeks. He said then suddenly he was brought back to them. He knew the torture that was used on him but at the darkest time his buddy joked with them saying, “I got tied up and I couldn’t get away.”

Halyburton stated that this is really key, because “Even in the worst of circumstances you can laugh and change everything.”

Lesson 3
Decide How You Will React

Halyburton said, “You have the power to take control to gain it. You’re the one who can decide how you’re going to react.”