JOINT-BASE SAN ANTONIO-Randolph, Texas – "You are not forgotten" -- these four simple words symbolize the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action mission to bring home the more than 83,000 service members missing from World War II through today.
Master Sgt. Melissa Erwin, 340th Flying Training Group information technology superintendent, joined volunteers from various base units to honor those missing service members.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed annually the third Friday of September, but numerous other POW/MIA Recognition Week (Sept. 17-21 this year) events will culminate with the national ceremony in Washington, D.C..
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph POW/MIA Sept. 17 events included a wreath laying ceremony and a vigil at the Missing Man Monument on Washington Circle, during which Erwin and other base volunteers ‘stood in’ for the missing men for 30-minute increments.
Erwin called it a small thing she could do to honor and remember those who sacrificed so much for American freedom.
“It’s a reminder of the nation’s quest to account for every service member who did not come home. These ceremonies are not only symbols to honor the POW/MIA, but also affirmation that we never leave our fallen behind,” said Erwin.
A JBSA-Randolph commemorative 5K run/walk is also planned for Sept. 19th at Heritage Park. .
Did you know: The familiar POW/MIA flag depicts the silhouette of a man on a white disk with a watch tower, a guard on patrol and a strand of barbed wire in the background. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto "You Are Not Forgotten." The flag was designed by Newt Heisley, a former Army Air Forces pilot turned commercial artist. The AAF was the U.S. military's aviation service during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of today's Air Force. Heisley based the flag's silhouette on his son who was medically discharged from the military.