A ceremony was conducted recently at the American Legion Robert Vincent McMaugh Memorial Post 10 in Manassas to remember and ensure POW’s and MIAs from past wars are never forgotten.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the honor guard from the National Reconnaissance Office posted the United States and POW/MIA flags beside an “altar” erected inside the Post.
The honor guard consisted of Air Force MSGT Jay Wilson; TSGT Sara Chantanasombut; TSGT Michael Cook; and Navy PO3 Matthew Jefferson.
Post 10 Executive Committee member “Gunny” Lewis served as master of ceremonies for the presentation.
He said such ceremonies take place around the country each September to make sure the nation remembers its responsibility to stand behind its service members and to do everything possible to account for those who do not return from battle.
Part of the ceremony called for veterans from each of the services to come forward to the altar and place their branch’s flag on it. The Army flag was placed by Army veterans Joseph Dazzo and Warren Quick.
The Marine flag was placed by Marine veteran Lo Padilla and USMC Pfc. Jacob Cregen. The Navy flag was placed by Navy veteran Joe Doskos and the Air Force flag by Air Force veteran Jack Cavanaugh.
Because there are no Coast Guard veterans in the post, Army veteran Jim Brock placed the Coast Guard flag on the altar.
Lewis explained to the full house at the ceremony why the various items were placed on the altar as a reminder of the families who keep the faith while awaiting the return of the missing servicemen who said number around 90,000.
According to the Legion, American servicemen who remain missing and unaccounted for from World War I total 4,400; for World War Ii, 78,000; from the Korean War, 8,100; from the Vietnam War, 1,827; and from the Cold War 128.
The ceremony was concluded with a toast to the missing servicemen and the playing of taps by Marine veteran Harry Horning.