POW/MIA Commemoration Day honors the commitments and the sacrifices made by our nation's prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.
By custom, it is on the third Friday in September. Fort Gordon will observe its Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day Sept. 16, a post news release said.
The observance, which is open to the public, will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the POW/MIA monument at the intersection of Chamberlain Avenue and Kilbourne Street. The purpose of the ceremony is to recognize the sacrifices Americans have made for freedom and democracy, the thousands of lives lost in battle and the fate of 10,000 Americans still missing in action, the release said.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of the six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations.
Still missing are more than 1,800 Americans in Southeast Asia, more than 8,100 in Korea, more than 78,000 from World War II and 120 from the Cold War. This heart-rending, humanitarian issue remains a VFW priority, demanding for the fullest possible accounting of all our missing service men.
For the past three years the VFW urged the Department of Defense to conduct a comprehensive review of the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, to include its mission, tasks, work load, operational requirements and resources. We wanted to make sure that CILHI had the proper amount of resources to accomplish their mission.
As a result, on October 1, 2003, the new Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) was formed. This new organization merges the 30-year old U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI) and the 11-year old Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA). The two former units combined their personnel, resources, equipment, and experience for improved JPAC operations.
The VFW's "Reach Out" for DNA initiative seeks to help identify the remains of missing American service members from past wars. The VFW program seeks to work in cooperation with the Department of Defense to encourage maternal relatives of missing American servicemen to contact the service casualty offices so that blood samples can be obtained from donors and be available to perform DNA matching tests on remains that have been recovered and will be recovered in the future.
If you would like to show your support for the fullest possible accounting of all our missing service men, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to contact and join your local VFW or any other Veteran Organization.