You Are Not Forgotten: California Remembers POWs and MIAs

Today, CalVet honors the memory of the many service men and women who were held as prisoners of war (POW) and those who are still missing in action (MIA).

Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation declaring Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 POW/MIA Recognition Day, continuing an annual day of observance that began in 1979 to raise awareness of the large number of Americans who were still missing after the end of hostilities in Southeast Asia.

POW-MIA CVCThe fates and whereabouts of 82,516 men and women who served our country in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and later conflicts remain unknown. Some of these are POWs who were taken captive by enemy forces and never returned home. Others are still MIA.

“This is a day of remembering those that are still unaccounted for — and to continue the efforts to bring them home,” said Martin J. Snezek, II, president of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 500.

The VVA will hold a candlelight ceremony to honor the “missing man” beginning at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Sept. 15, at the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Capitol Park, near 15th Street and Capitol Ave. Assemblymember Ken Cooley will speak at the event and Ryan Harris from KFBK Radio will conduct the “missing man” table ceremony.

CalVet honors all those who have served our country. Throughout history, the men and women serving in our armed forces have faced brutal mental and physical torture, starvation, illness, trauma, isolation, and the uncertainty of indefinite captivity. This risk is known to the men and women who voluntarily join our military services, and yet they agree to serve.

Today, on this national day of recognition, we pay tribute to those who have been held prisoner in battle, those who have died in captivity and those whose fates remain unknown. As is displayed on the POW/ MIA flag: “You are not forgotten.”

Bringing veterans home

Over the years, there have been a number of efforts to find and return the remains of American soldiers and sailors. For example, in 2015, the nongovernmental organization History Flight, Inc. notified the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that they had discovered a burial site on Betio Island, containing what they believed were the remains of 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the Battle of Tarawa during World War II.

A recovery operation in North Pyongang Province, North Korea in 2002 recovered the remains of up to 11 individuals from a site that was believed to be a temporary prison camp during the Korean War.

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