A day of honor

Local veterans plan Friday ceremony for POWs and MIAs

The numbers are staggering. There are more than 78,000 missing from World War II, and 8,100 personnel missing from the Korean War.

The numbers of missing in action (MIA) military personnel from America's wars are larger than the size of many foreign armed forces.

In Vietnam, the war's end left 2,583 Americans unaccounted for. Thirty-five years later, the number of missing is at 1,798, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Even the Cold War has 126 Americans listed as MIA.

That's part of the reason that the country will honor prisoners of war (POW) and MIA Americans on Friday across the nation.

The Craig ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at the Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way.

"We need to take some time to recognize those who were lost," said Bill Harding, veterans service officer for Moffat County. "We are planning a short speech, a gun salute and the playing of taps."

Harding said the flag will be lowered to half-staff, before being fully raised to conclude the ceremony.

Former POWs from the nation's conflicts also will be honored.

Congress defines a POW as a person who, while serving on active duty, was forcibly detained by an enemy government or a hostile force during periods of war or situations comparable to war.

There are 16,884 former POWs receiving compensation benefits from the U.S. Depart-ment of Veterans Affairs, according to the department's Web site.

Records show that 142,246 Americans were captured and interned during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Somalia and Kosovo conflicts and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Moffat County commissioners, a proclamation was approved naming Sept. 15 as POW/MIA recognition day in Moffat County.

For Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 Commander Bud Nelson, the day is important for the survivors.

"They may not know about our effort to honor them, but the families do," Nelson said. "We support the families of the MIAs, and we won't stop until everyone is accounted for."

He said the same is true with the former POWs in America. Nelson said America recognizes the sacrifice made by those held in captivity and won't forget what they gave for our freedoms.

"We don't know the price paid by those missing in action," Nelson said. "But the MIAs and the POWs, we want them to know that we think about them, and we appreciate what they did."

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

What: POW and MIA remembrance ceremony

When: 2 p.m. Friday

Where: Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way

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