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VFW event honors those who are POW/MIA
On Sept. 20, VFW Post No. 239 gathered to remember POW/MIA military members in a ceremony at the Bremerton post. The date is a National POW/MIA Recognition Day as defined by the Department of Defense.
Around 100 members and community leaders gathered for the event which included a colors presentation, prayer, proclamation reading, moment of silence, rifle volley and other gestures of respect.
White carnations were also placed on a table in front of uniform covers in memory of those who are missing or fallen.
An empty table sat in the background as a symbolic gesture for those in the armed forces who have not come home.
Overall, the local veterans want Americans to always remember the sacrifice of those who went missing-in-action or are prisoners-of-war.
Throughout the evening, members of VFW Post No. 239 were asked: Why is it so important to you to recognize POW/MIA Day?
Here are their responses:
“I think that it’s important to honor them. I think it’s important that someone’s celebrating it. I think that it’s important to celebrate their lives and the sacrifice they made.”
Jared Dickson, active duty Navy, 9 years.
“I left comrades there in Vietnam. This allows me an opportunity to remember them and honor them.”
Tom Thompson, retired Navy, 26 years.
“This is important because we need to see these people get back home. We have to be able to identify those who haven’t come home. It’s the way we can remember these vets.”
Fritz Swyers, VFW Post No. 239 commander, former Navy, 4 years.
“I think my generation didn’t really have people in the middle there that we didn’t really know where they are. They really went through hell as POWs. I respect that they did that. I just want to remember them. I think it’s an important thing that we do. It’s a very sad thing we have to do this.”
Michelle Hodges, retired Navy, 23 years.
“There’s still a lot of MIAs. There’s families they left behind. Their families don’t have a grave … it’s so the families can have closure.”
Michael Thompson, retired Navy, 20 years.