On Friday, September 17, the Dawson County Department of Veterans Affairs, with assistance from the Dawson County High School JROTC program, hosted a recognition ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Park in honor of the soldiers who were and are prisoners of war and missing persons. (MIA).
Steve Pamplin, Dawson County Vice President of Veterans Affairs and DCHS JROTC Program Leader, explained at the ceremony that the tradition of recognizing people past and present who have been prisoners of war or missing dates back to ancient times. decades.
âThis day of recognition began in 1979 when Congress signed a resolution; it was provoked by more than 2,500 family members of Vietnam veterans who were either prisoners of war or MIA, âPamplin said. “It is a day to honor those who have suffered as prisoners of war in past conflicts and to also honor and remember those who are still missing and unaccounted for.”
During the ceremony, Dawson County Veterans Affairs President Don Brown presented a POW / MIA report to those in attendance, reading the sobering number of US military personnel who have been or are still missing.
“The Second World War left us with nearly 73,000 missing in action, the Korean War left over 7,500 missing in action, Vietnam, nearly 1,600 missing in action, and recent conflicts have left us with some hundreds of people missing in action, âBrown said. . “It’s terrible – families don’t know what happened to their loved ones, only that they are missing in action.”
Brown said more than 81,600 Americans are still missing from all previous wars and that while organizations and government agencies go to great lengths to locate them, there will never be a real family shutdown. missing persons until they are found.
“We are here today to honor the families of the missing and the memories of those missing,” said Brown.
Following Brown’s report, members of the DCHS JROTC program presented the POW / MIA flag, hoisting it alongside the US flag on the pole. The students then read the names of the 28 Georgians who are still missing during the Vietnam War, ringing a bell to greet each name.
Members of the JROTC program then presented the “Missing Man Table”, a table set up in honor of those missing in action. Students explained the symbolism of each item on the table, including a white tablecloth to symbolize the purity of the intentions of missing men and women to protect their country, a single rose to symbolize loved ones and families of those missing , an image to symbolize how much we miss the missing people, and salt to symbolize the tears of families.
The ceremony ended with a blessing from Rob Wiley, a member of the Dawson County Veterans Affairs and DCHS JROTC program leader, who thanked for the sacrifice of those who fought and continue to fight for our country and a prayed for peace for the families of those still missing.
âWe know that most of the missing now live with you in the glory of your kingdom; for those still fighting, we pray for their strength, courage and will to persevere, âWiley prayed at the ceremony. âWe give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy through their sacrificesâ¦ never forget our prisoners of war and those who are missing.