09.20.13 National POW/MIA Recognition Day

2013 NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY

It is anticipated that Friday, September 20, 2013, will be proclaimed by President Obama as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Over the past several years, all or most of the 50 POW-MIA-Collagestates have proclaimed POW/MIA Recognition Day in conjunction with the national effort. The League will ask each state to issue a proclamation, but we need your support!  Please contact your Governor and ask for his/her support and a copy of your state’s proclamation.

Across the country, local POW/MIA ceremonies are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day. Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt. America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on the need to account as fully as possible for those still missing, alive or dead. Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers, and now is the time to start planning for this year’s ceremonies. The American people can make the difference.

Remember: Involving the state-level Department of Veterans Affairs, plus state, district and local veteran organizations, is the key to a successful event. Advance publicity must be a priority or attendance will be minimal. In order for the League to accurately respond to media inquiries and measure national awareness impact, please send information regarding activities to League National Coordinator, Lacy Rourke, by email at [email protected], by mail at the League office, or by phone at 703-465-7432.

For guidance: Contact your League State Coordinator or check the League’s web site: www.pow-miafamilies.org. Additional assistance can be sought from state and local governments, military and veteran organizations, ROTC, church groups, civic clubs, etc. A POW/MIA awareness contact should be available at each military installation, and invitations should be extended for military attendance and participation in these events.

To get media coverage: Contact local and state newspapers, magazines, military, church and school publications at least four weeks prior to Recognition Day. Send information packets, available from the League office, to editors, bureau chiefs, columnists and feature editors. If possible, contact a journalist who has written responsible articles on the POW/MIA issue. Write letters to the editor, outlining scheduled events and encouraging community participation.

Advertising: Develop posters and/or flyers to advertise local activities in the windows of area businesses. National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters will be available from  the Defense POW/MIA Office (703) 699-1169) or online (http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/pow_day/).  An explanation of the poster can be found here.

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Invitations: For all events, invitations may be sent to POW/MIA families in your area through the Service Casualty Offices (USA 800-892-2490; USN 800-443-9298; USMC 800-847-1597; USAF 800-531-5501), the CIA 703-874-4270, State Department for missing civilians 202-647-5470, and the League’s national office 703-465-7432. Invitations should also be extended to area veteran organizations, local dignitaries, civic organizations, etc. Speak to local civic clubs, veteran groups and auxiliaries, schools and churches prior to Recognition Day about the POW/MIA issue and plans for educational activities. Get them involved!

Other Programs

Write to your Governor, reinforcing the League’s request for a proclamation supporting National POW/MIA Recognition Day, calling on all citizens to participate in honoring US personnel still missing from our Nation’s past wars, returned POWs, and their respective families. Suggest that the Governor send a copy of your state’s proclamation to the President, Secretaries of State and Defense, and to the Members of Congress in their state delegation.376531_421342334580932_1399073436_n

Write letters to Congress asking them to ensure that adequate funding and personnel are provided each year to underwrite the operational requirements to maintain a high level of effort on accounting for US personnel still missing from past wars. Urge your elected officials to contact the Vietnamese Embassy, 1233 Twentieth Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, asking for renewed efforts on their part to locate and provide archival records that could expedite the answers we seek in accounting for American POw?MIAs. This serves a two-fold purpose: 1) informing elected officials of constituent involvement; and 2) signaling Hanoi of US Congressional support.

POW/MIA Vigils (for 24 hours or for a specific amount of time related to the number of Americans missing in your area) are meaningful, visible displays of support for the POW/MIA issue. Vigils can include Candlelight Ceremonies, reading of individual names from the state or 50 names representing one missing man from each of the 50 states. Congressional involvement in such events also signals interest in and support for the issue.

Encourage flying the League’s POW/MIA flag at the State Capitol, city hall and other local and state government buildings. Contact fire and police departments, schools and local businesses, requesting display of the POW/MIA flag at all appropriate locations. Check your local office of the U.S. Postal Service to ensure they have a flag and plan to display it, as required by law, at least six mandated days: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Recognition Day, & Veterans Day), if not 24/7. Rededication ceremonies may also be held for flags that are already on display, an ideal event to honor POW/MIAs from all wars. To obtain POW/MIA flags, contact the Ohio Chapter MIA-POW, Mrs. Liz Flick, 614-451-2405.

Distribute POW/MIA flyers available from the League’s national office, 703-465-7432, to ensure updated, factual information is distributed.

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195th Assault Helicopter Company – RIP Chief Mitchell

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These are the colors of the 195th AHC.

Another angel lost his wings last week.  A hero, the brother of my best man passed away last week.  He was 195th combat helicopter pilot and  he was a scout pilot to end his career in Vietnam…he was there 1969-70.  He said, “being a scout pilot was like being on a suicide mission every time you went up.”  He’d laugh and say “You get them to shoot at you, so the big boys can come in and take them out, once they know where they were after they shot at you”  And Chief Warrant Officer Michael Whalen Mitchell would laugh .  He made his wife call him Chief.

Rest in Peace CWO Mitchell, firebase116.org and all of America thanks you for your service, you will never be forgotten.

The Importance Of Friends

The Importance Of Friends

by Dan Doyle

When the veterans from my era came home from Vietnam, we came home to a divided country.  We were told what to expect, but it did not prepare us for what would happen to so many of us.  The anti-war fevor was at a high pitch and there was very little room for compromise, of even friendly conversations around that subject.  Those who supported us were outnumbered by then, and were often shy about saying so in public for fear of being ridiculed, even rejected.  But those who were against the war, and by analogy, those who had fought in it, felt more than free to harrass, to accuse, to denegrate, and to abuse us.  They had the numbers and were the loudest and proudest at the time.   As a result, most of us just retracted into our shells, and went on with our lives.

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When I was picked up at the Kenndy Airport by my parents, I had already gotten my first initiations into this anger while waiting for them.   My parents were tortured by the fact that they had not been there when my plane landed.  You see, because of unavoidable circumstances, I was unable to reach them on the phone (remember, this was pre-cell phone era) before I had to board the flight from Los Angeles to New York, so they did not know I was in country until I called them from Kennedy Airport.  We lived in Connecticut at the time, so it took them anout 45 minutes to drive down to pick me up.  They knew what the climate of the times were and they were full of apologies, though I did not need them.  I was just happy to see them.

On arrival at our family home, I went into the house from the garage, climbed the stairs to the living room and was greeted by my two best friends, yelling their greetings and wrapping me in bear hugs.  I couldn’t have been more thrilled.  I met other old friends over the next days and weeks, but most of them were tentative, or even cold with me.  They could not seperate their feelings for me from those that they had about the war I had just survived and come home from, and they rejected me.

But those two friends who were waiting for me in my living room, stayed friends, gave me their full support, and stood by me even through the crazy PTSD times over those first years back in “the world” after Vietnam.  Their patience, their friendship, gave me the support I needed to recover myself and to step out into the rest of my life.  One of those friends is still with me and the rest of my family today.  He has just retired from a career in teaching and we and our families are going to be able to spend more time together enjoying the new possiblities that retirement offers.  Having a good friend is a wealth greater than gold.