Today we observe National POW/MIA Recognition Day so that we may honor the courageous members of our nation's Armed Forces who were captured as prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. It's a time to remember and reflect on the cost of freedom. We must never forget the untold sacrifices made by valiant soldiers who went to war and suffered cruel imprisonment by the enemies or still remain missing with their fates unknown.
Over 40 years ago, members of Catholic War Veteran Post 870 in Woodside, Queens spearheaded a nationwide petition drive calling for the release of the 82 man crew of the USS Pueblo taken prisoner by the North Koreans. Their demand for the crew's freedom never ceased throughout the arduous eleven months they were held in captive in prison of war camps. This drive was led by my dad, Joseph S. Petrula, a WW II Army veteran and then Commander of CWV Post 870. As a young girl I learned through my dad's example and that of his comrades that Americans must always support and give recognition to the men and women who served our country so well and this lesson needs to be passed on from one generation to the next. American citizens must make a solemn pledge to never forget the sacrifices of all the brave men and women who defended our country and are defending it still today so that we may enjoy the freedoms of our great nation.
Let us take the time today to honor the valor of America’s POWs and MIAs and give continuing support to their families and loves ones.
The following is President Obama's POW/MIA National Recognition Day Proclamation & a fact sheet from the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office about the significance of the Missing Man Table Ceremony depicted on the 2013 National POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster:
For Immediate Release
September 19, 2013
Presidential Proclamation -- National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 2013
NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY, 2013
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Our country endures because in every generation, courageous Americans answer the call to serve in our Armed Forces. They represent the very best of the human spirit, stand tall for the values and freedoms we cherish, and uphold peace and security at home and around the globe. Today, we pay tribute to the service members who have not returned from the battlefield, we stand beside their families, and we honor those who are held captive as prisoners of war. We will never forget their sacrifice, nor will we ever abandon our responsibility to do everything in our power to bring them home.
America remains steadfast in our determination to recover our missing patriots. Our work is not finished until our heroes are returned safely to our shores or a full accounting is provided to their loved ones. We must care for the men and women who have served so selflessly in our name, and we must carry forward the legacy of those whose fates are still unknown. Today, and every day, we express our profound appreciation to our service members, our veterans, our military families, and all those who placed themselves in harm's way to sustain the virtues that are the hallmarks of our Union.
On September 20, 2013, the stark black and white banner symbolizing America's Missing in Action and Prisoners of War will be flown over the White House; the United States Capitol; the Departments of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs; the Selective Service System Headquarters; the World War II Memorial; the Korean War Veterans Memorial; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; United States post offices; national cemeteries; and other locations across our country. We raise this flag as a solemn reminder of our obligation to always remember the sacrifices made to defend our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 20, 2013, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I urge all Americans to observe this day of honor and remembrance with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office
2000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-2000
2013 National POW/MIA Recognition Day Poster
The 2013 National POW/MIA Recognition Day poster honors those still missingfrom our Nation’s past wars and conflicts and those who made the ultimate sacrifice and
whose remains have not yet been recovered and returned home. The Poster depicts the
Missing Man Table and there is special significance to each item that is displayed.
Set for four, the missing personnel from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air
Force are represented at the table. The round table shows everlasting concern. The tablecloth is white symbolizing the purity of the servicemen’s motives when answering the
call to duty. A single red rose is displayed in a vase as a reminder of the life of each of
the missing and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith while seeking answers.
The vase is tied with a red ribbon symbolizing the continued determination to account for
them. A slice of lemon is a reminder of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a
foreign land. The salt symbolizes the tears shed by those missing and their families who
long for answers to end years of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects hope for their
return to their families and our Nation. The inverted glass symbolizes the servicemen’s
inability to share an evening toast. The chairs are empty; they are missing.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is held each year on the third Friday in
September. On September 20, 2013, ceremonies will be held across the country to
commemorate the sacrifices of the missing servicemen and their families. For additional
information about National POW/MIA Recognition Day, visit the Defense POW/Missing
Personnel website at: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo.