Editorial: Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Today, Sept. 20, is National POW/MIA Recognition Day — a day to honor service members who were left behind in America’s wars

and a day to recommit to the sacred duty of accounting for each one of them.

“Keeping the promise,” “Fulfill their trust” and “No one left behind” are among the pledges the Department of Defense has

made to U.S. military personnel.

It is not always possible to bring

everybody back from a major battle or military operation. But that

doesn’t reduce our obligation

as a nation to seek the fullest accounting for each person left


According to the Defense Department, more than 83,000 Americans are missing from World War II, the wars in Korean and Vietnam,

the Cold War and the Gulf War.

The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office works to resolve each case. It partners with groups and experts worldwide,

gathers and analyzes intelligence, checks archives and conducts field investigations — all in an effort to find those who

never made it home.

A Louisiana native was accounted

for this year from the Korean War — Sgt. Clement Thibodeaux Jr. of the

Army’s 3rd Battalion,

35th Infantry Regiment. “(He) was lost on Nov. 28, 1950, near

Ch’ongch’on River, North Korea,” reads the DPMO’s website. “He

was accounted for June 13, 2013. He will be buried with full

military honors in Church Point.”

Among the most recent recoveries, as listed on the DPMO’s site — http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo

2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird, U.S. Army Air Forces, 5th Air Force, 3rd

Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron was lost in

March, 1944, when his A-20G Havoc bomber crashed in Papua New

Guinea. He was accounted for Aug. 28, 2013. He will be buried

with full military honors Sept. 28, 2013, in Springville, Utah.

Sgt. Melvin E. Wolfe, U.S. Army, K Company, 31st Regimental Combat

Team, was lost Dec. 12, 1950, during the battle of the

Chosin Reservoir. He was accounted for Aug. 26, 2013. He will be

buried with full military honors Sept. 23, 2013, in Boulder

City, Nev.

Pfc. Ronald C. Huffman, U.S. Army, K Company, 3rd Battalion, 38th

Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, was lost on Feb.

12, 1951, during a battle near Saemal, South Korea. He was

accounted for on Aug. 8, 2013. He will be buried with full military

honors in Princeton, W.Va.

Remember these men who were recently accounted for, and all those still missing. It is a sacred duty to bring them home, and

we, as a nation, should rededicate ourselves to it today.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.