Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I’m embarrassed to admit, I don’t have this day marked on my calendar.
This despite the fact that a member of my family was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967 and spent the next six years being tortured at the Hanoi Hilton. Uncle Byron has never been able to pick up my kids for fear that his permanently damaged shoulders would give out, and he’d drop them. His is the face I see over the black and white flag that commemorates POWs.
We seem to associate prisoners of war and service members missing in action with previous wars. The Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office does not list the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in their statistics. As of March of this year, two service members were officially listed as missing/captured.
But the others haven’t seemed to find a place in our popular conscience.
So I’m making a note on my calendar today. I’m giving thanks for the men and women whose faces fit the stark profile above.
You are not forgotten.