POW/MIA Day: ‘Never Forget’

POW/MIA flag flies over Overlook Memorial Park in Hood River, a tradition started by then-City Manager Lynn Guenther 19 years ago.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
POW/MIA flag flies over Overlook Memorial Park in Hood River, a tradition started by then-City Manager Lynn Guenther 19 years ago.

This year’s local observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which takes place Friday, Sept. 21, will focus on the recent return of 55 remains from Korea believed to be U.S. military personnel.

“We are gratified to see these men come home so their families can have closure” said Dan Brophy, chaplain for Point Man International Ministries, who will give the benediction at the ceremony.

Community members are invited to come to Kelly Viewpoint, 350 East Scenic Drive, for the 6 p.m. remembrance that is themed “We Will Never Forget.”

Brophy said all Americans need to urge national leaders to continue the search for 88,000 military personnel who have been unaccounted for since World War II, and to pay their respects for the 138,000 troops who have been held as prisoners of war.

The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office in Arlington, Va., is charged with the worldwide effort of tracking down the whereabouts of missing service men and women.

The Mid-Columbia Veterans Memorial Committee established the local observance several years ago so that The Dalles could join communities across the nation in honoring the missing and prisoners of war.

Also participating are representatives from American Legion Post 19 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2471, and Boy Scout units.

In a somber Aug. 2 ceremony, Brophy said the remains believed to be of American service members from the Korean War were flown back to the United States.

Their flag-draped coffins were welcomed home by Vice-President Mike Pence and Korean War veterans.

“Some have called the Korean War the forgotten war, but today we prove these heroes were never forgotten,” said Pence.

“Our nation has worked tirelessly to keep our sacred promise: To leave no man behind.”

The return of the remains followed the in-person summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-Un.

Two sets of the remains have reportedly been identified, but their names are not being released until families have been notified, according to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Both service members were determined to have died in late 1950 near the Chongchon River, and the remains were identified using DNA analysis and historical documents, according to the Department of Defense.

Mattis said it is expected to take from six to 12 months to several years for the other remains to be identified, depending on if there is any viable DNA to be extracted and whether DNA from relatives can be found.

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