KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — This Friday is a day for remembrance of servicemen and women, both prisoners of war and missing in action. In Kinston, people gathered to honor veterans lost in Vietnam.
There is a name on a chair for every service member still missing from the Vietnam War since 2012. Another white rose was added on Friday, meaning the remains of one of these heroes has come home to North Carolina. The names on the chair are specifically North Carolina service members, all of whom have been missing since 2013.
The artist behind the chair is Linda Pukalo, and her art has found a home at GI Joe’s Military Living History Museum in Kinston. She flew all the way from Arizona to paint the white rose.
“I’ve painted three white roses underneath the names, which signifies that their remains are home with their loved ones. It’s just sad there’s still so many that are not home and I just wish they were home,” said Pukalo.
This is the fourth white rose that she has painted, this time it’s for Frederick Hall of Waynesville. Pukalo also added the name of one missing-in-action service member, now being recognized as a North Carolinian.
“Linda Pukalo is adding Ray Echevarria’s name to the POW-MIA Chair and also we’re painting a rose on Captain Frederick Hall’s name because he has been identified and he’s coming home,” said Monica Cash, NC Vietnam Veterans Inc. member.
Frederick’s picture will join the others on the wall.
“It’s been a blessing because it’s been quite a few years since we have had the success of remains coming home to North Carolina,” said Cash.
These events unite veterans of all branches.
“I wish more veterans would support events like this because it really shows a precedent of the ultimate sacrifice that others made,” said Antonio “Pearl” Hardy, a veteran. “We can never forget that the POWs and the MIAs that are missing, they still have families and we’re part of that family.”
All gave some, and some gave all.
“I hope someday we never have to have these ceremonies again, that they’ll all be home,” said Cash.