POW/MIA Ceremony Held at Fort Stewart
September 26, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- The Chapter 789 Vietnam Veterans of America presented its annual remembrance ceremony in honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day on the evening of Sept. 19 at the Fort Stewart Museum.
Paul Spence, project chairman, was the master of ceremonies.
Several Soldiers, Family members, veterans, community leaders and citizens were gathered outside around the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.
Spence took the time to recognize and welcome everyone in attendance, especially all of the veterans.
"These and so many others have given us the freedom we enjoy today," said Spence.
A small table of remembrance was put on display because of its symbolic meaning.
"The table set for one is small - symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his oppressors," said Spence. "Remember!"
Spence went on to define the table of remembrance.
"The single red rose displayed in a vase reminds us of Families and loved ones of our comrades-in-arms who keep faith awaiting their return. Remember!"
As Spence continued, there were those whose faces were filled with tears and others whose faces revealed a sense of pride and dignity.
"All of you who served with them and called them comrades, who depended upon their might and aid, and relied upon them, for surely, they have not forsaken you," concluded Spence.
Major General Tony Cucolo, Commander of 3rd Infantry Division, followed the table of remembrance as the keynote speaker.
Cucolo challenged the audience to understand the selfless service and sacrifices of POW/MIA.
"Stop to think about being an American and having all of your freedom taken away," said
Cucolo. "Remember those who left us to go fight our nation's wars and did not come home but whose outcomes are unknown."
Cucolo discussed the Army acronym that he says no one wants to hear, DUSKWUN.
It stands for "duty status; whereabouts unknown."
"It means a Soldier is missing," explained Cucolo.
He expressed the commitment of all Soldiers to POW/MIA.
"We will find the missing," said Cucolo. "We will not let anyone be captured; that is the attitude."
The ceremony continued with the reading of the lyrics to Johnny Cash's "That Ragged Old Flag," read by Dave Sapp.
Members of Chapter 789 Vietnam Veterans of America read the names of Georgia Vietnam POW/MIA's followed then by the sound of a bell and the lighting of a candle for each name.
TAPS was played as Soldiers and Veterans stood with a salute in honor of POW/MIA.
The ceremony ended with a moment in silence, a benediction by Ralph Dixon, and making Cucolo an honorary member of Chapter 789 Vietnam Veterans of America.
After the ceremony, attendees were also able to enjoy plenty of food at the reception area inside the Fort Stewart Musuem.