Tiffany Asher, [email protected]
GREEN RIVER, WYOMING — The third Friday in September is recognized as POW/MIA Day, a time to remember the sacrifices of prisoners of war (POW) and servicemembers who are missing in action (MIA). Until 1979, there was no formal recognition day set aside for these important men and women in uniform. During last Tuesday’s Green River City Council meeting, Mayor Pete Rust proclaimed that POW/MIA Day will be observed on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023.
Earl McDonald, District Four Vietnam Vets, said, “District Four does not have any POWs but we’re having a mid-winter convention and a summer convention next year. What I will do is take the proclamation and I will page the different members to see if they know of any POW/MIA and award that to them.”
Summer Havens, First Vice Commander from the American Legion, stated, “I just wanted to take the time to thank you for recognizing these people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in their defense of our country and to thank you for bringing attention to the fact there are so many people that are POWs and MIAs. It’s literally enough people to fill Rock Springs and Green River at least twice over. It’s very important to us that these people are not forgotten.”
Jim Shoemaker, Past Commander from Post 2321 VFW Vietnam, mentioned, “What I would like to say is that any POW out there, he’s not the only person hurting. There is a family out there that POW belongs to. The MIA belongs to a family and didn’t just disappear out of the sky. We don’t know whether he’s alive, dead, or in a mine. We care. We wear these patches every day on our uniforms. The American Legion carries its POW flag. We have a flag up in the cemetery in the vet plot. It’s not for us, it’s for them.”
The proclamation states that 1,582 Americans are still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as well as 7,663 from the Korean War. Another 126 are missing from the Cold War. During World War I around 4,400 are still missing and another 72,707 from World War II. Many from World War II are assessed as unrecoverable deep-sea losses. There are still many missing from the Gulf War and other conflicts. Many families and friends still await recovery, identification of their remains, or clarity regarding these brave soul’s fates. POW/MIA Recognition Day is a way to honor our prisoners of war and missing-in-action soldiers.
Mayor Pete Rust stated, “The City of Green River does hereby recognize Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, as POW/MIA Recognition Day throughout the City of Green River in honor of all Americans still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, Korean War, Cold War, World War I and World War II, and Gulf Wars/other conflicts and urge all citizens to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, honor, and respect.”
A proclamation on National POW/MIA Recognition Day from the White House reads, “On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we pledge to seek out answers for the families of service members still missing in action. We commit to doing all in our power to identify and recover America’s missing sons and daughters. And we pay tribute to former prisoners of war — individuals who exhibited remarkable courage, love of country, and devotion to duty to protect our Nation’s safety and freedoms.”