April 9th is National former POW recognition day


Sunday, April 9, is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition day

(Washington, DC) U.S. Senator Larry Craig, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, reminded his colleagues and the public that this Sunday, April 9, is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.

“April 9 is an important day a solemn day to remind ourselves of those brave men and women who served our nation with honor while suffering behind enemy lines during times of war,” Craig said. “Some live today in my great state of Idaho including civilians who were captured at the start of World War II while working for Boise-based Morrison-Knudsen when Wake Island was attacked. They ended up becoming some of the longest-interned POWs of that conflict.”

The Idaho Republican noted that loved ones at home also paid a tough price…


“A few months ago I read about Mary and Tom Young. They were married on her 20th birthday and six weeks later Tom shipped out to learn how to fly planes for the Army. Two years later, on Mary’s 22nd birthday, Tom’s plane was shot down over Germany. It was three months before she received word that Tom was alive. Now, some 60-plus years later, they are enjoying life together in Boise,” Craig said.

Of course, not every POW comes home nor does every POWs tale have a happy ending. There are still 10 Vietnam War POW/MIAs from Craig’s home state of Idaho that remain unaccounted for. Nationally the number is much higher.

According to information on a Public Broadcasting System website, Vietnam may have misled Americans about the numbers of POWs it held. A document located in the former Soviet Union in 1993 stated that North Vietnam held 1,205 Americans as of September 1972. That was just a few months before Vietnam released of the 591 POWs. Hearings held by Senate and House Committees have since concluded that it is highly unlikely that any American POWs are still alive there.

National Former Prisoner of War Day was created under presidential proclamation. This past Wednesday President Bush signed the latest proclamation which declares:

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 9, 2006, as National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in remembering and honoring the sacrifices of all American prisoners of war. I call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. “



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