It’s National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Please don’t forget those who have served our country and sacrificed so much…those who have become Prisoners Of War or Missing In Action. Why? Here’s why:
Fifty-two years ago, 5-year-old Bryan Knight went to Dallas Love Field to say goodbye to his father, as Air Force Major Roy Knight, Jr. left to serve in Vietnam. Bryan never saw his father again. But last month, Bryan, himself an Air Force veteran and now a pilot for Southwest Airlines, flew his father’s remains back to that same Dallas Love Field, bringing him home, finally, to be laid to rest.
You can read the rest of that amazing and heart-wrenching story at the link below, but I’d like to take a few moments to explain how this happened.
There’s an agency in the Department of Defense called the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, whose sole mission is to recover missing personnel who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), or Missing In Action (MIA), from all past wars and conflicts and from countries around the world. They recovered (subsequently promoted) Colonel Knight’s remains early this year and identified him in June, and now he’s at rest and closure has been given to his family.
But they didn’t just find him and identify him. When he was shot down in Laos on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, search and rescue teams immediately tried to get to him but failed due to hostile ground fire in the area. The point is that they didn’t stop trying. His crash site was re-visited, searched, and excavated at least seven times over the years before he was finally found and recovered.
The DPAA is working constantly to bring home our service members, and as an example, just so far this month they have identified the remains of twenty-two of the missing from Korea and World War II. Their search continues now, and they will never stop as long as any are still missing, because when a service member is being held prisoner or is awaiting rescue, the biggest thing they can cling to is the certain knowledge that their country is striving, right that very moment, to find them and bring them home.
They know that bad things happen, and they realize that they just might not see their families again. But it also helps them to know that one day, their families will find the peace of closure like Maj Knight’s family did.
Our service members and their families need to know that our government will never, ever stop trying to bring them home, whether they’ve been captured for a day or lost for fifty years. They need to know that we will honor them and never forget them. So for the ones who are, right now, risking their lives in your service, please show them that you have them firmly in your minds and hearts. Fly your POW/MIA flag, post your support on social media…let them know that while they have your backs, you have theirs as well.
That’s what you’d want to know if you were in their combat boots.