Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First of its Kind

Although it’s not the first ever to be held in the United States, it is the first to be held in the small town of Great Bend, Kansas.
On September 19, 2009 the American Legion, Post 180, and the American Legion Riders held a ceremony in honor of the remembrance of American POW/MIA (Prisoner of War and Missing In Action) Soldiers. There have been POW/MIA Ceremony’s held all over the United States since 1979. Many have been held at the Pentagon and other locations within Washington D.C.
The ceremony was held at Jack Kilby Square in Great Bend. There were 500 programs printed off and not a single program was left after the ceremony. They had a wonderful turnout for this being the first year.
This day was celebrated by having special guests who served in our Military Forces; among those guests were Mayor of Great Bend, Mike Allison who was a Veteran. John Murphy, who was held captive for more than a year in Laos during the Vietnam War, among other POW’s, gave speeches. Mayor Allison made September 19, 2009, the official POW/MIA day for Great Bend, Kansas.
A single table sat with an empty chair represents those who have not come home! The table is very symbolic to those that have served and those still serving.
This table set for one is small... it symbolizes the frailty of one prisoner against his oppressors. The table cloth is white... it symbolizes the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms. The single rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades in arms who keep faith awaiting their return. The red ribbon tied so prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn on the lapel and breasts of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting for our missing. A slice of lemon is on the bread plate... to remind us of their bitter fate. There is salt upon the bread plate... symbolic of the family's tears as they wait. The glass is inverted... they cannot toast with us tonight. The chair is empty... they are not here.
Among the American Legion Riders, many veterans from all branches were there to celebrate this day. As well as the veterans there were girl scouts, boy scouts, Soldiers from DET 2, 129th Transportation Company, as well as Cadets from Saint John Military Academy, the Military School in Salina.
The POW/MIA Ceremony was not only held to honor those who have not come home but to also show and educate the younger generations what our veterans stand for; along with teaching them the respect of the flag and proper retirement of an American Flag and a POW/MIA Flag.
At the end of the ceremony a Legion Rider, boy scouts and girl scouts disassembled an American Flag by cutting each of the strips off and placing them in the retirement barrel. John Murphy, SSG Rocky Cauthon and PV2 Michael Rapp had the honor of retiring the POW/MIA flag. Families dedicated flags to those who have served to be retired.
When the ceremony had ended, the Boy Scouts helped retire many battered and torn flags dedicated by the audience to someone who had served or was still serving.


  1. Hi, this is jenicoe2001from eHow. Are you from Great Bend? I used to live there a long time ago when I was little- in the early 1970s. Small world!! :) I have "followed" (or Google friended) you on your blog- would you "follow" by blog also? :) Thanks an Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Wow, I can't spell or type tonight!! LOL I made some typos in my first comment. LOL :)