NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action ceremony was held on Sept. 16 at Freedom Park on Nellis AFB.
Each year on the third Friday of September, the country honors our military members who have been or still are POWs or MIA. There are currently more than 82,000 members of the military who are still missing from conflicts dating back to World War I.
“Today is the day that is set aside to honor the heroism of a special breed of warriors, Americans who have endured captivity in enemy hands as well as those who fate remains unknown,” Col. Samantha Weeks, 57th Adversary Tactics Group commander.
Weeks, was the honorary speaker for the ceremony, thanked everyone who attended and those involved but, had a special message for the former POWs who were in attendance.
“I want to thank the 11 men who are here who represent our Air Force core values, service before self, excellence and integrity. I’d like to give special recognition to their families for the consummate love, support, hope, desire and dedication,” said Weeks.
A formation of Airmen from units across Nellis and Creech AFB’s as well as the Nevada Test and Training Range represented the POW/MIA’s from Nevada and those stationed in the area.
The formation of Rancho High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets placed a red rose on the white wreath for the Nevada deceased prisoners of war or military members missing in action to represent respect for those individuals.
“We pause today to remember the sacrifices of all that endured enemy captivity and for those who are still missing. May they come home soon for the hero’s welcome they so richly deserve,” said Weeks.
Kathleen Dussault, Nevada Department of Veteran Services deputy director represented Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as he prepared a proclamation for this day.
“Our mission in the state of Nevada and at the Department of Veteran Services is to make sure every veteran that returns receives the care, dignity and respect they deserve and a distinguished recognition in the state of Nevada,” said Dussault.
A missing man flyover was conducted and the POW/MIA Flag was posted during the ceremony. The flag is a symbol that is used to demonstrate our nation’s concern and commitment to the Americans who are still imprisoned or unaccounted for. The motto “You Are Not Forgotten” represents our Nation’s pledge to honor those who are prisoners and those who did not return home.