Sept. 20 is proclaimed National POW/MIA Recognition Day.Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans’ facilities. It is traditionally observed on the third Friday in September each year.
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.
Here in Myrtle Beach, National POW/MIA Recognition Day will be celebrated by Rolling Thunder South Carolina Chapter 3. The public is welcome to join us at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 at War Bird Park at the intersection of U.S. 17 Business and Farrow Parkway. The City of Myrtle Beach has once again issued a proclamation in recognition of this national holiday, which will be read during the ceremony.
RTSC3 has three former POWs, who are honorary members of their Chapter. World War II is represented by Tech Sgt. Frank Brincat (U.S. Air Force retired) who was shot down over Germany and held prisoner for 11/2 years at Stalag 17-B.
The Korean Conflict is represented by Pastor Paul Thompkins (U.S. Army Infantry) who was captured and held for three years by the North Koreans.
Vietnam is represented by Cdr. Al Agnew (U.S. Navy retired) who was shot down over North Vietnam and held in the Hanoi Hilton.
The issue of accountability for our POWs and MIAs is still relevant today. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban more than four years ago, still remains a POW.
We as Americans should never forget the suffering and sacrifices made by servicemen and women answering our nation’s call to duty. They laid their lives on the line for the freedoms that each of us enjoy on a daily basis. Many have endured unthinkable hardships as prisoners of war. Many others have never come home and are considered missing in action. The United States has over 83,000 still unaccounted for since WWII.
We must never give up the search for those who are being held as prisoners of war or who have gone missing while serving our nation. We must keep our promise that “no one is left behind,” not only for the past veterans, but for the men and women serving in the military today and in the future,
“When one American is not worth the effort to be found, then we as Americans have lost.”
The writer is the Rolling Thunder SC3 chairperson.