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The Lexington Veterans Association flies the POW/MIA flag every day - photo at left is at the Main Club House and photo at right is at the Island Club... to demonstrate our firm support of the repatriation of MIA's

 

"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle, it takes  a hero to be one of those men who goes in to battle."                 

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.

                  

                               

The small table to the left is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our Armed Forces are missing from our ranks  They are referred to as POW's  and MIA's. 

The table cloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.  The single red rose in the vase signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved Unites States of America.  This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing brothers and sisters 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 is 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 remember and never forget their sacrifices.  May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.

 

  I see the numbers in the box above and I canít help but wonder why our government since the 1940ís to just recently wasnít resolutely steadfast in its determination to bring these patriots home. Only in the past few years has there been any progress at all in getting to the bottom of this disgraceful problem. Finally, in Vietnam and Korea, we are finding the remains of some of these brave men after 50 years. Regardless of our political affiliation, we should give credit where credit is due. The Department of Defense in the Clinton/Gore Administration took the initiative several years ago while every administration up to that time failed to do so.

As Ron Fleischer, in 1997, so elegantly put it - "For those brave soldiers who fought but have not returned, and whose fate is known only to God, we must pledge together to them and to their families to remember them each day and to do everything in our power to speak on their behalf. To find them and return them to their own soil, living and dead alike, during a time of relative peace seems a small enough sacrifice in comparison. Can we in good conscience do less for the patriots who sacrificed their existence for us and our well-being? This is not simply the American thing to do, and the humane thing to do, it is the right thing to do."

We not only need to remember these brave heroes but also to keep pressure on the members of Congress and the White House to continue its pursuance of this important matter. Write, call or email your Senator and Representative about this issue. Gather petitions of signatures of family, friends and neighbors and send to your Congressman/woman. Keep their feet to the fire on this problem. God Bless These American Heroes, their lives freely given so that you and I can live ours in FREEDOM.

If the above statement isn't enough to stir you, then look at this story from Korea!

 

 

A KOREAN WAR STORY

by Lynna K. Shuffield

Nicolas "Nick" Garza was a PFC and a member of Co. C, 21st Infantry Regiment,24th Infantry Division. On July 5, 1950, Nick was defending a position about two miles north of Osan, South Korea. It was overrun, and he was captured by North Korean forces. Nick and the other POWs were moved from place to place until the "Tiger Death March" commenced on Oct. 31st. The POWs were forced to marched through mountainous terrain in sub-zero weather for 108 miles. The POWs who survived were taken to a prisoner of war (POW) camp at Hanjang-ni. There was no heat, food, or medical attention. Nick died of malnutrition and dysentery on Dec. 20, 1950 and was buried in the mass graves at the POW camp.

The remains of many men who died in the Korean conflict have yet to be returned by North Korea. Both of Nickís sisters joined the Dept. of Defense DNA Registry so that if the North Korean government ever repatriates his remains, Nick can be identified. The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory will send a kit and instructions to "family members of military personnel whose remains have not been recovered or identified from Southeast Asia, Cold War incidents, Korea, and World War II." If you would like to submit a sample, write to:

Armed Forces Institute Of Pathology

DNA Registry

ATTN: Family Reference Section

1413 Research Blvd. Bldg.101, 2nd Floor

Rockville, MD 20850

(301) 319-0210

For more information, visit:

http://www.afip.org/oafme/dna/afdil.html

Family Outreach

http://www.afip.org/oafme/dna/family.htm

For more information on the Tiger Death March and the men who died while POWs, check out "Johnny Johnsonís List" at: http://www.koreanwar.org/tiger/johnson.htm

Another site with information on the DNA Registry is at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~janc1947/

 

 

DNA is the crucial key to identifying the remains of American MIAs from past wars.  And the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory is using that key to unlock the mystery of their fates. At the Defense Dept's DNA Repository is a two-story walk-in freezer that holds 4,000,000 DNA samples. To positively identify the remains of casualties from past wars, investigators need DNA (in the form of a blood sample) from one or more of the MIA's maternal relatives.  DNA identification is no cure-all.  It can take weeks or months to complete an identification.  It's likely that no remains will ever be found for thousands of MIA's.  But the motto for the lab is "never say never".  They have the responsibility to those service members who gave their all to this country to make as many identifications as possible - and to return their remains to their families with honor.

Revelation of a U.S. POW held in China during the Korean War gives hop to families that have waited so long for closure. Were American POW's secretly held in communist China during and after the war?  Even though the Chinese have denied it for five decades,  the answer seems to be "yes" based on the case of Army Sgt. Richard Desautels.  Chinese officials have now admitted to classified records existing and indicating Desautels was held in a POW camp in Shenyang, China and this revelation has sparked hope that Chinese could lead to information on several hundred U.S. and U.N. personnel held in such camps.  U.S. investigators may, at long last, have their best chance in decades to find out.
Three consecutive operations to search for remains of U.S. Korean War MIAs began in July 2002.  Repatriation of recovered remains is expected by October 29.  The geographical focus is on an area some 60 miles north of Pyongyang in Unsan County and near the Chosin Reservoir. Since 1996, 22 joint U.S. - North Korean searches have recovered remains believed to be those of 152 GIs.  As of June 1 2002, only 11 had been identified, with 10 others in the final stages of identification.  Over 8000 Americans were listed as missing in action during the Korean War.

 

The remains of two Vietnam servicemen missing since 1970 were buried in Arlington National Cemetery on June 7, 2002.  Air Force Capt. Craig B. Schiele and Master Sgt. Thomas E. Heideman, both of Chicago, crashed in a helicopter in Laos on October 24, 1970.  As of July 30, 2002, 734 U.S. remains from Southeast Asia had been identified and returned to their families.  That leaves 1,907 Americans still unaccounted for.

 

September 23, 2000 - FORMER POW's MAY QUALIFY FOR THE PURPLE HEART.  Former American Prisoners of War may be eligible to receive the Purple Heart medal due to a little-publicized four-year-old change in the award rules.  Congress passed legislation in 1996 modifying Purple Heart eligibility rules to include all former U.S. POWs deliberately injured or wounded by their captors.  No POWs had been eligible prior to a nonretroactive 1962 rule change.  Applicants must present supporting evidence, such as repatriation medical exams or a witness statement.  If in doubt, apply.  Use Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining to Military Records," available at Department of Veterans Affairs service and medical centers; and online at http://web1.whs.osd.mil/forms/SFO180.PDF

 

 
 

You Can Help

Air Force

USAF Missing Persons Branch HQ AFPC/DPWCM 55 C Street West, Suite 15 Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4716 1-800-531-5501

http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/powmia/

 

Marine Corps

HQ US Marine Corps Manpower Reserve Affairs Personal Family Readiness Division 3280 Russell Road Quantico, VA 22134-5103

 

 

 

If you are a maternal relative of a missing service member, investigators might like to add your mtDNA to their repository.  Depending on the MIA's branch of service, more information is available from:

Army    

Dept of the Army Total Army Personnel Command TAPC-PER 2461 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA 22331-0482 1-800-892-2490

https://www.perscom.army.mil/tagd/cmaoc/  cmaoc.htm

Navy

Dept of the Navy Personnel Command  POW/MIA Section (PERS-62P) 5720 Integrity Drive Millington, TN 38055-6210 1-800-443-9298

http://www.persnet.navy.mil/pers62/       powmia/62p.htm

                                                                                 

 

 
  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! These soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have endured enough whether alive or dead. This situation will continue until an accounting is made to their families, friends and us as a nation. For each one there are family and friends that do not know what has become of them. What a difficult situation that must be for their loved ones to  endure. There is emptiness in the lives and hearts of their family and friends that will not be filled until a solution has been found to this situation. Why would this great country and its leaders continue to play political games with these lost souls? Why? It is a national dishonor and one that we must all accept responsibility for allowing to exist. We must not allow this to continue unresolved. Our heroes should be honored not put aside and forgotten. What more must they endure before they are accorded their rights as heroes and returned to the homes for which they fought? WE MUST BRING THEM HOME NOW!  
 
                                                                            

Music: Ballad of the Green Beret