Ceremonies will be held across the country on September 20, 2013, in honor of military personnel who were held prisoner or are still missing from past wars and conflicts.
National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day, which is traditionally observed on the third Friday in September each year, recognizes the more than 83,000 Americans who are missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.
As in past years, the 2013 observance will include ceremonies on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans’ facilities. The observance also is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag at major military installations, national cemeteries, post offices as well as veterans’ memorials and some federal office buildings.
Paralyzed Veterans of America recognizes the profound loss suffered by service members who have become prisoners of war or missing in action.
“Not only are they disconnected from their comrades and family, they also have to fight to maintain their identity as proud warriors. To find the will to persevere,” said Sherman Gillums, associate director of veterans benefits for Paralyzed Veterans of America. “While they know their country will never give up on them, each passing day, minute, and second in captivity seems like an eternity. Some ultimately never make it back. Those that do give embodiment to what it means to have gone to hell and back. We owe these heroes our deepest gratitude 365 days a year."
Learn more about National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America
Brittany Ballenstedt is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in several publications, including Government Executive, National Journal, Technology Daily and NextGov.com.