JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Friday was National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day. A ceremony in Jacksonville Friday night put on by the NC 5 Chapter of Rolling Thunder paid honor and respect to those who are POW/MIA.
The community gathered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Jacksonville to learn more about service members who were prisoners of war and also those who never made it back home.
“Our mission is to inform the public about the POW/MIAs,” said Paul Levesque, the POW/MIA ceremony event coordinator. “So we get a chance to educate the public and remember those that are still unaccounted for and remember those who were captured and made it back here to our homeland.”
The ceremony was complete with history lessons of the POW/MIA, a missing man table and a flame lighting.
“I was very happy to see the outpouring of the veterans in the community and to see the public showing up to honor our POW/MIAs,” said Maria Myers, who volunteers regularly at Cherry Point and had family who served in the Vietnam War.
“I feel so grateful to each and every one of them. They put their life on the line and go overseas, it’s just something amazing to me.”
Levesque said the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Jacksonville is the perfect place to hold this ceremony and to honor those servicemen and women.
“1,600 of them are on this wall still unaccounted for,” Levesque said.
While the third Friday in September is set aside to honor these war heroes, Levesque said we should remember them every day of the year.
“There are still a lot of families out there who are waiting for answers and don’t know where their family members are,” Levesque said. “When you see that flag with the black and white prisoner silhouette, take the time to remember.”