Today, CalVet honors the memory of the many service men and women who were held as prisoners of war (POW) and those who are still missing in action (MIA).
Governor Jerry Brown issued a proclamation declaring Friday, Sept. 21, 2018 as POW/MIA Recognition Day, continuing an annual day of observance that began in 1979 to raise awareness for the large number of Americans who were still missing after the end of hostilities in Southeast Asia.
The fates and whereabouts of more than 82,000 men and women who served our country in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and later conflicts remain unknown. Some of these are POWs who were taken captive by enemy forces and never returned home. Others are still MIA.
On this day, CalVet remembers the service of those POWs and those still MIA, and we honor their brave sacrifice for our country.
Throughout history, the men and women serving in our armed forces have faced brutal mental and physical torture, starvation, illness, trauma, isolation, and the uncertainty of indefinite captivity. This risk is known to the men and women who voluntarily join our military services, and yet they agree to serve.
Today, on this national day of recognition, we pay tribute to those who have been held prisoner in battle, those who have died in captivity and those whose fates remain unknown. As is displayed on the POW/ MIA flag: “You are not forgotten.”
Bringing veterans home
Over the years, there have been a number of efforts to find and return the remains of American soldiers and sailors. For example, in 2015, the nongovernmental organization History Flight, Inc. notified the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that they had discovered a burial site on Betio Island, containing what they believed were the remains of 35 U.S. Marines who fought during the Battle of Tarawa during World War II.
A recovery operation in North Pyongang Province, North Korea in 2002 recovered the remains of up to 11 individuals from a site that was believed to be a temporary prison camp during the Korean War.
And recently, with the discovery of Navy Cmdr. James B. Mills, who went missing in Vietnam in 1966, and recovered, his remains positively identified by the Pentagon, on August 24. See more about Mills’ discovery and his link to the Chairman of the Board and CEO of the National League of POW/MIA Families, Ann Mills-Griffiths.
For more on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find them on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call (703) 699-1420.