Veterans Corner - POW MIA Recognition Day 2023
GRIC Veteran and Family Service Office
September 15, 2023 is a day in which we remember and honor our Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) as recognized annually on the third Friday in September. The flag of the National League of Families designating POW MIA was adopted in January 1972. It was originally a tribute for more than 2,500 service members of the Vietnam War that were POW and MIA.
Currently, there are still over 81,000 Americans missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other conflicts. This flag now stands as a symbol for all the POW MIAs since WWII who have not come home.
Today, we remember, acknowledge and commemorate the courage and sacrifices that have been made by members of our armed forces that remain missing, unaccounted for or are being held as Prisoners of War.
Military Veterans service organizations like the American Legion and VFW have a designated remembrance table as a reminder to the POW and MIA that “You Are Not Forgotten.”
Gila River has had one known POW, Arthur F. Thomas (WWII) from District 1. If you have documentation that supports other GRIC Members being POW or MIA, please let us know.
The Veteran and Family Services Office is located at 264 S. Bluebird Rd, Sacaton. Our office can be reached at 520-562-9704.
POW/MIA Table Explained:
THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND THOSE CURRENTLY SERVING THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES ARE EVER MINDFUL THAT THE SWEETNESS OF ENDURING PEACE HAS ALWAYS BEEN TAINTED BY THE BITTERNESS OF PERSONAL SACRIFICE. WE ARE COMPELLED TO NEVER FORGET THAT WHILE WE ENJOY OUR DAILY PLEASURES, THERE ARE OTHERS WHO HAVE ENDURED AND MAY STILL BE ENDURING AGONIES OF PAIN, DEPRIVATION AND INTERNMENT. THIS EVENING, WE CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS SMALL TABLE, WHICH OCCUPIES A PLACE OF DIGNITY AND HONOR NEAR THE HEAD TABLE. IT IS SET FOR ONE, SYMBOLIZING THE FACT THAT MEMBERS OF OUR ARMED FORCES ARE MISSING FROM OUR RANKS. THEY ARE REFERRED TO AS PRISONERS OF WAR AND MISSING IN ACTION. WE CALL THEM COMRADES. THEY ARE UNABLE TO BE WITH THEIR LOVED ONES AND FAMILIES TONIGHT, SO I ASK - THAT WE JOIN TOGETHER - TO PAY OUR HUMBLE TRIBUTE TO THEM, AND BEAR WITNESS TO THEIR CONTINUED ABSENCE. THIS TABLE, SET FOR ONE, IS SMALL, SYMBOLIZING THE FRAILTY OF ONE PRISONER, ALONE AGAINST HIS OR HER SUPPRESSORS. THE TABLECLOTH IS WHITE, SYMBOLIC OF THE PURITY OF THEIR INTENTIONS TO RESPOND TO THEIR NATIONS CALL TO BEAR ARMS. THE SINGLE ROSE IN THE VASE, SIGNIFIES THE BLOOD THAT MANY HAVE SHED IN SACRIFICE TO ENSURE THE FREEDOM OF OUR BELOVED UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. THE ROSE ALSO REMINDS US OF THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF OUR MISSING COMRADES WHO KEEP THE FAITH, WHILE AWAITING THEIR RETURN. THE YELLOW RIBBON ON THE VASE REPRESENTS THE YELLOW RIBBONS WORN ON THE LAPELS OF THE THOUSANDS WHO DEMAND WITH UNYIELDING DETERMINATION, A PROPER ACCOUNTING OF OUR COMRADES WHO ARE NOT AMONG US TONIGHT. A SLICE OF LEMON ON THE PLATE REMINDS US OF THEIR BITTER FATE. THE SALT SPRINKLED ON THE PLATE REMINDS US OF THE COUNTLESS FALLEN TEARS OF FAMILIES AS THEY WAIT. THE GLASS INVERTED – THEY CANNOT TOAST WITH US THIS NIGHT. THE CHAIR IS EMPTY – THEY ARE NOT HERE. THE CANDLE IS REMINISCENT OF THE LIGHT OF HOPE WHICH LIVES IN OUR HEARTS TO ILLUMINATE THEIR WAY HOME, AWAY FROM THEIR CAPTORS, TO THE OPEN ARMS OF A GRATEFUL NATION. LET US PRAY TO THE SUPREME COMMANDER THAT ALL OF OUR COMRADES WILL SOON BE BACK WITHIN OUR RANKS. LET US REMEMBER THEIR SACRIFICES. MAY GOD FOREVER WATCH OVER THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE RISE AS TAPS IS PLAYED IN REMEMBERANCE OF OUR PRISONERS OF WAR AND MISSING IN ACTION.