17 September 2010

POW/MIA Day 2010


Officials Unveil Pentagon POW/MIA Exhibit

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15, 2010 –

Defense Department officials today dedicated a portion of the Pentagon to military prisoners of war and troops missing in action, honoring one of the military’s guiding principles: Never leave a comrade behind.

Michele Flournoy, the Defense Department's policy chief, talks about the importance of the military's mission to recover all prisoners of war and those missing in action during a Pentagon ceremony Sept. 15, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Flournoy helped dedicate a Pentagon corridor to American military prisoners of war and those missing in action. DoD photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden

Michele Flournoy, the Pentagon’s policy chief, hosted the ceremony on the building’s third floor, in Ring A between corridors 6 and 7.

The hallway is lined with information, artifacts and photographs underscoring the service and sacrifice of more than 80,000 MIAs and POWs from the present conflict in Afghanistan and dating back to World War II.

“No matter how far away or how long ago, we will do everything humanly possible to bring all those missing servicemembers home,” Flournoy said. “We do this for the sake of their family members, and we also do this for all who serve today.”

The display exhibit was designed in the corridor, because thousands of people -- servicemembers, defense civilians and tourists -- walk through it each year, Flournoy said. The exhibit’s location, she added, underscores the importance the Defense Department places on recovering prisoners of war and those missing in action.

“As we stand here today,” she said, “many thousands of servicemen and women are deployed around the world in harm’s way. And in the days and years to come, some of them will give their lives to their country. Some of them may fall into enemy hands...(More here)

War on Terror News has a great column up on POW/MIA Day, which begins which a description of the Missing Man Table and Honours Ceremony:

17 SEP 2010 is POW-MIA Remembrance Day

US-POW Flags In Honor of POW's and MIA's

17 SEP 2010 is POW-MIA Day

Missing Man Table & Honors Ceremony"

In remembrance of those still missing and those who suffered capture, the following is included in all formal military dining events, called a "Dining In" in the Army:

Explanations of the ceremonial table and what we place there:

This table set for one is small... It symbolizes the frailty of one prisoner against his oppressors.

The tablecloth is white... It symbolizes the purity of their intentions responding to their country's call to arms.

The single rose displayed in a vase... It reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades in arms who keep faith awaiting their return.

The red ribbon... Tied on the vase, is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn by thousands who bear witness to their determination to demand proper accounting for our missing.

A slice of lemon... Is on the bread plate to remind us of their bitter fate.

There is salt... Upon the bread plate symbolic of family tears as they wait.

The glass is inverted... They cannot toast us today.

The chair is empty... They are not here.

Remember all of you who served with them and called them comrades. You who depended on their might and aid and relied upon them.

Do not forsake them.

Pray for them and remember!

They have much more, including on the history of POW/MIA Day. You can find it here.

On this solemn day, yes, let us ALL "Pray for them and remember!"

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