Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

POW-MIA Remembrance

 

March 30, 2016

Tracie Mitchell

WORLAND – During the Worland American Legion Welcome Home Veterans Ceremony on Saturday, not only the veterans who returned from war were honored, a special moment was taken to remember those who didn't come home at all. The POWs (prisoners of war) and MIAs (missing in action) were remembered, honored and prayed for by all who were present.

A small table was placed at the front of the room and each piece on the table held an important symbol. The ceremony went as follows:

Those who have served, and those currently serving in the uniformed services of the United States, are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured and may be still enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and imprisonment.

We call your attention to this small table which occupies a place of dignity and honor. It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members or our armed forces are missing from our ranks. They are referred to as POWs and MIAs.

We call them comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families, so we join together to pay humble tribute to them, and to bear witness to their continued absence.

The table is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.

The table cloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.

The single rose in the vase signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep faith, while awaiting their return.

The red ribbon on the vase represents an unyielding determination for a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us.

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 at this time.

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.

The American flag reminds us that many of them may never return – and have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom.

Let us pray to the Supreme Commander that all our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.

Let us remember – and never forget their sacrifice.

May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.

March 30 is the official Wyoming Veterans Welcome Home Day. March 30 is significant because that was the day the last troops were sent home from Vietnam. Remember to thank a veteran today and remember those who didn't come home, Staff Sgt. Justin Pfeiffer said during his speech on Saturday.

On March 17, 2011, Governor Matt Mead signed the first proclamation to set aside March 30 to thank Korean War, Vietnam War and other veterans in an appropriate manner and to honor those members of the United States armed forces who were not properly welcomed home following their military service.

 
 

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