POW/MIA ceremony planned on Friday
September 16, 2010
In honor of the sacrifices made by the nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action, the Warren County United Veterans Council will conduct a “Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony” beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday at General Joseph Warren Park. Members of the public are invited and encouraged to join members of the county’s veterans organizations at this poignant ceremony.
“The ceremony is both emotional and patriotic with its focus really being more about reverent reflection. It intends to remind us that many who went to war in defense of our Nation, our freedoms, or the freedoms of others suffered greatly at the hands of an enemy who captured them and held them as prisoners of war,” said Burt Alexander of the General Joseph H. Pendleton Detachment of the Marine Corps League. “We recognize not only Prisoners of War who were actually repatriated following their imprisonment, but also prisoners who have never returned and therefore remain unaccounted for. And, as the name of the day indicates, we recognize those brave souls who have been reported as Missing in Action and to this day, also remain unaccounted for.”
As a Marine, Alexander noted that Memorial Day honors the deceased, Armed Forces Day honors those currently serving and Veterans Day celebrates all military veterans.
“It seems to me somehow imperative that those who are still unaccounted for deserve some measure of recognition for their sacrifice even while we remain uncertain of which of those other days of remembrance will properly indicate their current status. This day is for those for whom their families have no closure,” he said.
Alexander added, “As an American and as a Marine, I will take this opportunity to reflect with reverence upon those who are yet not accounted for. I owe them no less; they must never be forgotten.”
The first commemoration to honor America’s POWs (prisoners of war), those Missing in Action (MIA) was held on July 18, 1979. That first year, resolutions were passed in the Congress and a National ceremony was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. It followed that National POW/MIA Recognition Day legislation was introduced yearly until 1995, when it was deemed by Congress that legislation designating special commemorative days would no longer be considered by Congress. The President now signs a proclamation each year.
The 1984 National POW/MIA recognition day ceremony was held at the White House and hosted by President Ronald Reagan. At that most impressive ceremony, the Reagan Administration balanced the focus to honor all returned POWs and renew national commitment to accounting as fully as possible for all those still missing.
The National League of POW/MIA Families set the third Friday in September as POW/MIA Recognition Day since that was a day that is not particularly associated with any specific war or any specific veterans organization’s national convention. POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies are now held throughout the Nation and around the world on that day.