JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Another area in Eastern North Carolina is also honoring the prisoners of war and missing in action.
Rolling Thunder NC Chapter 5 was scheduled to hold a ceremony on Friday in Jacksonville. The third Friday of September is a day to remember the service members who have not yet returned from war or to their families. From World War II, there are around 72,000 service members still unaccounted for, officials say. There are over 7,000 from Korea and 126 from the Cold War.
The observance is held at the Vietnam Veteran Memorial, with the 1,600 still missing from the conflict etched into the wall. The ceremony will recognize all of the POW and MIA military members but highlight the 3-8 Vietnam service members from North Carolina by reading their names aloud, followed by the ringing of a bell.
“When you meet the families, and they’re still missing their loved ones … When you see the staggering figures of the numbers of Americans are still missing. Something that we don’t want to go away. We just want to keep the public involved and never forget,” said Paul Levesque, president of Rolling Thunder NC Chapter 5 and NC liaison for Rolling Thunder.
A family member of a missing-in-action Vietnam service member will be speaking at the observance. There will also be a missing man table ceremony and lighting the candle with the Rolling Thunder Flame of Freedom.
Organizers said they are expecting around 100 people to attend the event, which was scheduled to begin Friday at 6:30 p.m.