Please remember POWs/MIAs today
Published 6:00 pm Friday, September 20, 2019
Today, Sept. 20, is a solemn day of remembrance for all Americans. It is National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day to remember the men and women of our nation’s armed forces who have been prisoners of war or are still listed as missing in action.
We can never forget the sacrifice and suffering endured by those who have been prisoners of war, many of whom endured months or years of captivity by often cruel captors.
Many POWs also suffered much mistreatment, humiliation and even torture during their captivity. We must never forget the cruelty of the Japanese on the Baatan Death March of World War II, those Americans captured by North Koreans in the Korean War, and those captured by North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War who suffered through unspeakable torture and mistreatment.
Let us also remember the prisoners of war who died in captivity from illness or mistreatment by their captors. Particularly notable are the American prisoners of war who were murdered by their German captors during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, called the Malmedy Massacre.
The recognition day also includes those still missing in action who have never been accounted for by our military. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of Americans from many wars are still listed in this category. But we can never give up on accounting for every MIA from every war whenever possible.
According to the Defense Department POW/MIA Accounting Agency, as of Sept. 13 there are more than 82,000 Americans missing from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War and Gulf Wars/other conflicts.
Out of the 82,000 missing, 75 percent of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific, and more than 41,000 are missing and presumed lost at sea (i.e. ship losses, known aircraft water losses, etc.).
But there are stories of progress, as well. In recent years, many remains of unidentified dead, buried as unknowns, have been identified and their remains returned to their families thanks to the persistent work of Defense Department personnel and DNA testing.
You can find much more information about the POW/MIA issuate that the DPAA website, www.dpaa.mil. Also check out the fine work of the National League of POW/MIA Families at www.pow-miafamilies.org.