September 21, 2007 – P.O.W. / M.I.A. Day

imagesPOW/MIA Tables of Honors

Opening Prayer:

ALMIGHTY GOD, FATHER OF ALL MANKIND AND JUDGE OVER NATIONS, WE PRAY THEE TO GUIDE OUR WORK IN THIS MEETING AND IN ALL OUR DAYS AHEAD.

SEND THY PEACE TO OUR NATION AND TO ALL NATIONS. HASTEN THE FULFILLMENT OF THY PROMISE OF PEACE THAT SHALL HAVE NO END.

WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SERVE THE PEOPLE AND GUARD THE PUBLIC WELFARE THAT BY THY BLESSING THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO DISCHARGE THEIR DUTIES HONESTLY AND WELL.

WE PRAY FOR OUR COMRADS THAT BY THY HELP THEY MAY OBSERVE THE STRICTEST JUSTICE. KEEP ALIGHT THE FIRES OF FREEDOM, STRIVE EARNESTLY FOR THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY AND PRESERVE UNTARNISHED OUR LOYALTY TO OUR COUNTRY AND TO THEE.

FINALLY, O GOD OF MERCY, WE ASK THY BLESSING AND COMFORT FOR THOSE COMRADES WHO ARE SUFFERING MENTAL AND PHYSICAL DISABILITIES. CHEER THEM AND BRING THEM THE BLESSINGS OF HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.

AMEN

You see before you an empty table, set for service but vacant. This table is symbolic of our fallen comrades-in-arms and those whose fate is still unknown.

It is set with eight chairs – one each for the members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, as well as for Fire Fighters, Police Officers and Civilians.

The table is round, symbolizing our everlasting concern for those still missing. REMEMBER.

The table cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions in responding to their country’s call to arms. REMEMBER.

The single rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep the faith awaiting their return. REMEMBER.

The red ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn on the lapel and breasts of thousands, bearing witness to their unyielding demand for a proper accounting of our missing. REMEMBER.

A slice of lemon is on the bread plate, symbolic of their bitter fate. REMEMBER.

There is salt upon the bread plate, symbolic of the family’s tears as they wait. REMEMBER.

The glass is inverted, for they cannot toast with us this night. REMEMBER.

The chairs – the chairs are empty – they are not here. REMEMBER.

REMEMBER – all of you served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not forsaken you.

REMEMBER

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner_of_war

http://www.aiipowmia.com/histories/histmnu.html

POW/MIA Links: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/links.htm

CURRENT STATS ON ALL WARS: http://www.aiipowmia.com/stats.html

http://www.173rdairborne.com/pow.htm

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,140500,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl

“Some 88,000 U.S. service members are listed as missing from World War II, and JPAC conducts searches throughout the world to find them”

From the link below: “Library of Congress (This database contains 145,965 record on Vietnam-era POW/MIA) In December 1991, Congress enacted Public Law 102-190, commonly referred to as the McCain Bill. The statute requires the Secretary of Defense to make available to the public–in a “library like setting”–all information relating to the treatment, location, and/or condition (T-L-C) of United States personnel who are unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. The facility chosen to receive this information was the Library of Congress (LoC). The Federal Research Division (FRD) created the POWMIA Database, the on-line index to those documents. The microfilmed documents themselves are available at the Library of Congress or borrowed through local libraries.” This bill became a law in 1994–the files of the prisoners of war or missing in action are to be reviewed every three years-whether or not any new information has been received/added.

“What do I want?–I want my country to love me as much as I love her.”

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pow/powhome.html

American War and Military Operations: http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/american%20war%20casualty.htm

THE PRISONER OF WAR ISSUE

Every year, by proclamation, the President of the United States declares April 9th as “National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.” This date honors those that CAME HOME. In the past decade, an average of TWELVE returnees have died EACH DAY.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is by law, the 3rd Friday in September every year. This date honors those men and women still held in enemy hands or buried on foreign soil.
On August 10, 1990, the Congress passed a bill recognizing the black and white, POW/MIA flag as “the symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fate of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia…” In 1997, bills passed the House and Senate mandating the POW/MIA flag be flown on specific holidays. The 1998 Defense Authorization act noted that the flag MUST be flown on: Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, Independence Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day.In 1998, the Veterans Administration noted the flag will fly EVERY day at their facilities. http://www.pownetwork.org/statistics.htm

ALL POW-MIA STATISTICS ALL WARS: http://www.aiipowmia.com/lnx.html

Septemeber 19, 2007: http://nampows.org/fredhalyandersonville.htm

POW/MIA Advocates: http://www.vvvc.org/vvvc/powmia.htm

Prayer for Prisoners of War and Missing in Action:

Almighty Father Who suffers in the affliction of your children, we call upon You now from the depths of our anxiety and great concern for our countrymen and loved ones who have fallen into the hands of the Nations foes, in the face of the evils that these brave men endure and before the grim burdens they are forced to bear, give them courage and hope, and a never failing confidence in You.

But most of all, 0 God, we ask that the day will soon come when we can all celebrate their release and safe return to their homes and kindred.

Give to all of us who wait and hope in the face of every disappointment the will to persevere in the cause of peace and the wisdom to conquer hate with love and every doubt with a renewed faith in You. Amen.

http://www.gmasw.com/mia_pray.htm

Admiral James Stockdale:

Stockdale wound up in Hoa Lo Prison, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” where he spent the next seven years as the highest ranking naval officer and leader of American resistance against Vietnamese attempts to use prisoners for propaganda purposes. Despite being kept in solitary confinement for four years, in leg irons for two years, physically tortured more than 15 times, denied medical care and malnourished, Stockdale organized a system of communication and developed a cohesive set of rules governing prisoner behavior. Codified in the acronym BACK U.S. (Unity over Self), these rules gave prisoners a sense of hope and empowerment.  Many of the prisoners credited these rules as giving them the strength to endure their lengthy ordeal. Drawing largely from principles of stoic philosophy, notably Epictetus’ The Enchiridion, Stockdale’s courage and decisive leadership was an inspiration to POWs.

http://www.admiralstockdale.us/

http://www.usna.edu/ethics/stockdalelbio.htm

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5 Responses to “September 21, 2007 – P.O.W. / M.I.A. Day”

  1. olotliny Says:

    http://www.vfw.org/resources/pdf/powmia2007.pdf – this link will take the reader to a speech from the VFW on POW/MIA
    above link and text from the VFW – Veterans of Foreign Wars site:
    POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 21

    September 21 is POW/MIA Recognition Day, which 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.

    Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans’ facilities.

    This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. The flag is to be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House.

    De “Abe” Jones | abeabe@bellsouth.net | mywebpage.netscape.com/delabejones/page3.html | IP: 70.146.156.102

    POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY
    (The third Friday of September)

    As time goes on remains are found
    And another finds his way back home
    After years spent lost on foreign shores
    Feeling forgotten and left all alone.

    But they will never be forgotten
    By the Country they went off to serve
    We will search until all are returned
    To loved ones, the least they all deserve.

    There are new ways to identify
    DDel “Abe” JonesNA can tell, just who they may be
    Those lost in those past conflicts
    A Hero home, their final destiny.

    War is so terrible and horrific
    Worse for the POW and the MIA
    All of those unaccounted for
    Compounds the price they chose to pay.

    Each year, we should all remember
    Those we lost in the fog of War
    Better yet, take a moment every day
    While we appreciate what they fought for.

    POW/MIA Recognition Day
    Dedicated to honor their memory
    For the time or life they gave
    To keep this, “The Land of the Free”.

    Del “Abe” Jones
    09.13.2007

    some older pieces >

    POW/MIA
    (This is with Etching in Texas)

    So many fates are left unknown
    And so many rumors that abound
    So many families ask the question
    “When will, the answers be found?”

    So many years have come and gone
    Sometimes, hope is hard to keep
    There’s some who feel there’s none
    And in some, it’s buried deep.

    The pain, is in not knowing
    How, to put loved ones’ to rest
    When there is no way to prove
    They have passed, the final test.

    But, no matter what the answers
    We can’t let this cause alone
    Until, each and every one of them
    Is found, and brought back home

    POW/MIA STORIES

    It’s hard to find, the stories
    That, they won’t talk about
    It’s hard, to realize the things
    That they had, to go, without.

    How can they let the feelings
    (Even, they don’t understand)
    Show to, any other people
    In this, Freedom’s Land.

    We can’t know, the hardships
    Unless, we were there
    Especially, when they came back home
    To those who didn’t, seem, to care.

    Unless you had, lived through it
    Watching, Comrades that had died
    Why should they, talk about it to us
    Of, the tears, inside, they’ve cried?

    Even, if they chose to tell us
    What difference, would it make
    Would it be worth the chance
    That they, would have to take.

    Why should they bare their soul
    That’s already been, stripped, clean
    Because, even with, a picture of it
    We couldn’t see, what they have seen.

    Sometimes, all we have to do
    Is, to look into their eyes
    And think that we might see or hear
    Their, mournful, pain-filled cries.

    That POW who came home
    Who lived, through that Hell
    Can’t tell the stories, of the MIA
    Who never had, a chance to tell!

    So, we may never, ever, know
    Of, the horrors, they have, known
    And, if we think about it
    It’s probably best, that they aren’t shown!

    But there is, always an end
    To every, never-ending story
    Although sometimes, they’re never told
    In, all their Truth and Glory.

    So if you ask about it
    And if you ever wonder why
    They won’t talk of that nightmare
    Maybe now, you might know, Why?

    POW/MIA

    For as long as we have Wars
    And we send our Young to fight
    We’ll have Those who are Missing
    And the POWs plight.
    All People of this Nation
    Have this Duty to fulfill.
    We must keep Them in our thoughts
    And, We must have the Will
    To bring every One home
    And do all we can to find
    All those POW/MIAs
    And leave NO Souls behind.

    POW/MIA ISSUE

    Ten years of “BITS ‘N’ PIECES”
    By some People who still care
    In a search for clues and answers
    About Those We left “over there”.

    Trying to get the military
    And all those politicians
    To take actions to find Them
    With calls, letters and petitions.

    It’s a sad State of Affairs
    When the families and friends
    Must lead the Battle in the Search
    In this War that never ends.

    All those loved ones still Missing
    Who went to War for me and you
    Deserve much more from our Country
    Than just the efforts of those few.

    “The National Alliance of Families”
    Carries that Banner for us all
    To bring home those Forgotten
    Who answered our Nation’s Call.

    Please visit their pages
    And give them a helping hand
    For if “One Missing” was “One” close to you
    Maybe then, you’d understand.

    “The National Alliance of Families”
    http://www.nationalalliance.org/home1.htm

    Del “Abe” Jones
    abeabe@bellsouth.net

  2. olotliny Says:

    http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=49003
    A former POW’s tale of hell and heroism
    By Will Morris, Stars and Stripes
    Pacific edition, Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Flight is highlight of pilot’s Kadena trip

    Not long after Col. James Lamar returned from almost seven years as a POW in North Vietnam and just before he retired with 28 years of service in the Air Force, someone asked him what he would do when he left the military.

    “I told him that from now on, I’m going to be in the business of selling America to Americans,” he said Friday at a breakfast commemorating the sacrifices of POWs and MIAs.

    Last week, Lamar, 80, found his target audience while he and his wife, Judy, visited Kadena Air Base as guests of the 18th Wing and the Air Force Sergeants’ Association.

    In speeches around the base, he talked about his POW experiences, but his themes were deeper; no matter what happens, have faith in God, your family and your country.

    Master Sgt. David Wade, 37, of Roanoke, Va., said Friday’s speech was moving.

    “I’ve been to many events in my time as a senior NCO and his words were very powerful,” Wade said.

    As part of Lamar’s tour of Kadena, he was given a familiarization flight of a two-seater F-15 by Lt. Col. Rick “Chase” Boutwell, commander of the 44th Fighter Squadron, of which Lamar was once a member.

    Lamar said it was the highlight of his trip. His wife said it was the first time he had been in a military jet since immediately after his release from captivity in 1973.

    The veteran pilot flew 100 combat missions in Korea and 101 in Vietnam. Lamar, who has flown some of the icons of military aviation including the F-51 Mustang, the F-86 Sabre and the F-105 Thunderchief, was able to compare notes with pilots who weren’t even born when he was captured in North Vietnam after a bombing raid in 1966.

    “He has more combat experience than my guys have pulling the handle (to fly),” Boutwell said.

    Boutwell did his best to give Lamar a ride to remember. He took off, kicked in the F-15’s afterburners, pulled the nose up and within seconds was at 15,000 feet.

    After the flight, Boutwell, a former member of the Thunderbirds acrobatic flying team, said Lamar was all smiles after the ascent.

    “He said, ‘I’ve never been in an airplane that had the ability to do that,’ ” said Boutwell.

    Boutwell took Lamar though different combinations of medium and high G-force turns, which, according to Boutwell, the retired colonel did without passing out.

    “Most people my age couldn’t do that,” he said.

    After Boutwell taxied the plane into its shelter after the flight, the canopy opened and Lamar was all smiles.

    “Fabulous,” he said. “I enjoyed it immensely. We went around and danced through the clouds some.”

    KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Lt. Col. James Lamar looked around. He couldn’t remember the parachute ride to the ground.

    When he punched out of his F-105D, it was on fire and hurtling through the sky close to the speed of sound. When he hit the air stream, the force of it punched him in the face, ripped off his helmet and knocked him unconscious. He woke up in a wooded clearing with a broken left arm and an angry mob of Vietnamese peasants surrounding him. After stripping off his clothes, they handed him over to North Vietnamese soldiers, who took him to a hut and tortured him overnight and into the next day.

    Lamar would spend the next six years and nine months of his life as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He spent most of the time in the “Hanoi Hilton,” the notorious prison known both for the sadism of its captors and the courage and sheer willpower of its captives.

    “I spent almost seven years in the company of some of the finest men I have ever had the pleasure to know,” said Lamar, who visited Kadena Air Base last week. The retired colonel gave several speeches as a guest of the Air Force Sergeant’s Association and the 18th Wing.

    ‘A milk run’

    The railroad marshaling yard near the village of Yen Bai was supposed to be a routine target. Guarded by the usual assortment of anti-aircraft cannons, there was nothing indicating what was in store for Lamar on May 6, 1966. It was his 201st combat mission, 101 of them in Vietnam.

    “This was considered a milk run,” he said.

    Leading a group of fighter-bombers from 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron on an afternoon raid, Lamar slipped over a mountain range. As he approached the rail yard, he could see tell-tale puffs of anti-aircraft shells exploding underneath his plane at 6,000 feet, right above the target.

    Swallowing his fear, he nosed his jet down toward his target to descend to bomb-release altitude. Right after he entered the flak layer, Lamer pickled his bombs.

    That’s when he felt his plane shudder. And that’s when things turned ugly. Fire began bellowing from behind his instrument panel. Lines severed by the shell spewed hydraulic liquid, fueling the fire.

    “It was like an acetylene torch,” he said. Lamar pulled out of his dive, opened up the throttle, and kicked in the afterburner. The speed threw him back into his seat and he gained altitude. As the fire grew, Lamar did his best to avoid the exploding shells. His goal was to get as close as he could to a bail-out point before he had to eject. As Lamar kept the F-105D airborne, an excited junior pilot in his squadron broke orders to maintain radio silence.

    “I heard him say, ‘Get out lead, you got a big fire going.’ If he could see me on fire several miles away it was bad. So I ejected.”

    ‘They broke me’

    The first night on the ground was hell.

    As Lamar nursed a broken arm, the Vietnamese used ropes to tie and twist his body into knots. Still, Lamar held on. He told his interrogators nothing but what the Code of Conduct requires – name, rank service number and date of birth.

    But eventually, the interrogators hit their mark. He was broken. He said he gave out worthless information.

    “The pain was excruciating. You get to a point where you think you could stand it, and then they tightened it up. I’m not proud to tell you that they broke me, but they did.”
    The next day Lamar was dragged in front of reporters for a press conference.

    When they asked him a question, he pointed to his interrogators and spoke about them.

    “They tortured me all night to get that information, and you’re gonna have to torture me, too.”

    The reporters swarmed the North Vietnamese officers, whose government had previously denied that they tortured prisoners of war.

    “I spoiled the press conference,” he said.

    Lamar was eventually taken to the Hao Lo Prison, the “Hanoi Hilton.” He was there with now-Senator John McCain, and was a cell mate of then-Capt. James Stockdale, both of whom were Navy attack pilots.

    The battle the POWs fought to maintain their dignity and keep resisting the enemy has become the stuff of legend.

    Prisoners routinely chose to be tortured and disfigured rather than betray each other or give their captors even superficial victories. Stockdale on at least one occasion beat himself with a stool, rather than allow the Vietnamese to use his image for propaganda.

    And like McCain, Lamar carries the scars of his confinement. His broken arm never healed properly and still has a limited range of movement. Lamar later found out that all the prisoners had been tortured, and all of them broke.

    “All were tortured, no one held out,” he said.

    Lamar’s captivity ended in 1973 during Operation Homecoming, a series of transport flights that brought POWs back to the United States. He received numerous awards for his actions as a POW, including one incident where his captors dug a grave for him and threatened to kill him if he didn’t radio a rescue crew into a trap where they would have been shot down.

    Lamar retired from the Air Force in 1976.

  3. olotliny Says:

    “John McCain spent 5½ years in captivity as a POW in North Vietnam. His first-person account of that harrowing ordeal was published in U.S. News in May 1973. Shot down in his Skyhawk dive bomber on Oct. 26, 1967, Navy flier McCain was taken prisoner with fractures in his right leg and both arms. He received minimal care and was kept in wretched conditions that he describes vividly in the U.S. News special report:

    This story originally appeared in the May 14, 1973, issue of U.S.News & World Report. It was posted online on January 28, 2008.

    Of the many personal accounts coming to light about the almost unbelievably cruel treatment accorded American prisoners of war in Vietnam, none is more dramatic than that of Lieut. Commander John S. McCain III—Navy flier, son of the admiral who commanded the war in the Pacific, and a prisoner who came in “for special attention” during 5½ years of captivity in North Vietnam.

    Now that all acknowledged prisoners are back and a self-imposed seal of silence is off, Commander McCain is free to answer the questions many Americans have asked:

    What was it really like? How prolonged were the tortures and brutality? How did the captured U.S. airmen bear up under the mistreatment—and years spent in solitary? How did they preserve their sanity? Did visiting “peace groups” really add to their troubles? How can this country’s military men be conditioned to face such treatment in the future without crumbling?

    Here, in his own words, based on almost total recall, is Commander McCain’s narrative of 5½ years in the hands of the North Vietnamese.”

    http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/2008/01/28/john-mccain-prisoner-of-war-a-first-person-account.html?PageNr=1

  4. olotliny Says:

    Just read: Ghost Soldiers. by, Hampton Sides (2001) ISBN-10: 038549565X
    http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Soldiers-Forgotten-Dramatic-Mission/dp/0385495641

    This book details the rescue of WWII American/allied P.O.W. – (prisoners of war) in Cabanatuan, Philippines (survivors of the Bataan Death March and years of brutal, inhumane treatment by the Japanese). The book documents the P.O.W.s rescue by army Rangers and Philippine guerrillas.


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