As we head into September, we are quickly approaching a national observance day that should be highlighted. The National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday of September each year (Sept. 16). I encourage everyone to take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.
There are many ways to honor our POWs and those missing in action. One opportunity is offered by the Arthur O. Haukland VFW Post 1350 in North St. Paul. On Thursday, September 15, they will be sponsoring their annual POW/MIA Candle Light March. All are invited to join in the march starting at the VFW (2483 7th Ave.) at 6:00 PM. The march will head east three blocks to the Veteran’s Memorial (adjacent to the America Legion Post #39 parking lot) for a ceremony in honor and remembrance of our Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.
As of July 2005, the Government Accountability Office listed 88,115 service men and women unaccounted for from World War II, Korean/Cold War conflicts, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and other conflicts. American POWs and their missing comrades have demonstrated the true spirit of our nation and should never be forgotten. The families of these inspiring Americans deserve to know what truly happened to their loved ones.
This legislative session, Representative Leon Lillie and I authored a resolution memorializing the Congress of the United States to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the Prisoner of War – Missing in Action issue. This issue has been a national dilemma since the end of World War II and there is a strong need for an independent investigation into all unresolved matters relating to any United States military personnel unaccounted for. It is the responsibility and the duty of the United States government to bring home Americans missing in action.
Americans from every generation have answered the call to duty with dedication and valor. These brave Americans deserve the respect and gratitude of our nation, and all efforts should be made to resolve the Prisoner of War – Missing in Action issue in their honor.
My legislation was recommended to pass by the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee but was not heard on the floor. I will continue to pursue this legislation next year. For more information on the POW/MIA Recognition Day, visit the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office’s website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo/pow_day/. You can also find information on POW’s at the American Ex-Prisoners of War website, http://www.axpow.org/.
I would like to leave you with a poem from Del ‘Abe’ Jones to remind us of the sacrifices our troops have made to keep our country free.
POW/MIA Recognition Day
As time goes on remains are found
And another finds his way back home
After years spent lost on foreign shores
Feeling forgotten and left all alone.
But they will never be forgotten
By the Country they went off to serve
We will search until all are returned
To loved ones, the least they all deserve.
There are new ways to identify
DNA can tell, just who they may be
Those lost in those past conflicts
A Hero home, their final destiny.
War is so terrible and horrific
Worse for the POW and the MIA
All of those unaccounted for
Compounds the price they chose to pay.
Each year, we should all remember
Those we lost in the fog of War
Better yet, take a moment every day
While we appreciate what they fought for.
POW/MIA Recognition Day
Dedicated to honor their memory
For the time or life they gave
To keep this, ‘The Land of the Free’.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions about any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.