National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2008

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day so I’d like to ask you all to take just a moment of your time to remember, and pray for our unaccounted for and fallen heroes who sacrificed their all for our freedom. The Pentagon ceremony for National POW/MIA Recognition Day today, Friday, September 19, 2008, which will feature troops from each of the military services. The President will issue a proclamation commemorating the observances and reminding the nation of those Americans who have sacrificed so much for their country.

Below is this year’s official POW/MIA recognition poster:

While preparing this post I came across the explanation of the Missing Man Table (courtesy of the National League of Families) and thought I share it with you. I’ve experienced this event way too many times in the past while attending the annual League meetings in Washington, DC. It’s a most humbling, moving experience to witness. My brother, Capt. Herbert C. Crosby was MIA from January 10, 1970. His remains were identified November 2006 and buried in Arlington National Cemetery May 2007. Thirty-seven years of waiting, hoping, praying. (More of this in a later posting.)

All Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served the cause of freedom.

Set for six, the empty places represent Americans still missing from each of the five services — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard – and civilians. Five service covers and a civilian cap are on each empty plate.

The meaning of the items on this special table are:

The table is round — to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.
The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the[ir] loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.
The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s [morning’s/day’s] toast.
The chairs are empty — they are missing.

Raise your glasses some time today in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs.

We (the 501st Aviation Battalion/71st Assault Helicopter Company [Rattlers and Firebirds]) have one member of “Firebird 91” crew still MIA, George Andrew (Andy) Howes (January 10, 1970). We also have James Christof Becker and Peter Alden Schmidt who are MIA (August 15, 1970). (Not a good year.)

While attending the Rattler-Firebird Association 2008 Reunion in Denver, CO, Dan and I had the pleasure and honor to meet Jim Pfister, also from the 501st/71st, who was POW from 1967-1973. (Jim is holding the POW/MIA flag in the photo.) I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to meet and talk with this man. He is truly an American hero, as all our Vietnam Veterans. They’re all very special to me. (More from this very special reunion in a later posting.)

My prayers go out to these warriors and their families, along to all the POW/MIAs from all wars. Let’s do what we can to support the families, League, our Vietnam Veterans, The Rolling Thunder, and the various supportive Veterans’ groups in the ever needed reminding to Washington to keep searching for not only Andy, but all the POWs and MIAs. Remember, Never Forget and Keep the faith. – God Bless, Mary Lou Wade

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