Former POWs participating in recognition ceremony
Friday, September 23, 2011
“My Uncle went missing after flying a mission during the Vietnam War,” shared Martina Parauda, Director of New York Harbor Healthcare System, at the POW/MIA Recognition Day, “The Cost of Freedom”, held at St. Albans Community Living Center on September 16th. “Even as a child, I could see the profound effect that it had on my mother and my family.”
These are wounds that never truly heal.
Some 82,000 soldiers remain unaccounted for – or Missing in Action – since World War ll. For so many families wondering what happened to their loved ones, it’s not just a number, but a reality.
“All we can do is offer support to those families,” said Keynote Speaker Colonel Michael Gould, Commander, US Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn.
As part of the healing process, Congress and the President have proclaimed a POW-MIA Recognition Day each year since 1979.
After the Missing Man ceremony in the Chapel, which featured a carefully set table symbolizing the fact that these members of our armed forces are missing from our ranks, the ceremony continued outdoors with the raising of the POW/MIA flag. A blessing was given by Chaplain Service, with many former POWs in attendance.
The sun was shining bright in the sky as Taps was played. Afterwards, Veterans and staff gathered for coffee and cookies – among them a POW who will soon celebrate his 99th birthday – a reminder that all are not lost. Many POWs came home. They tell their stories to all who will listen –and they keep their comrades legacies of courage alive.