POWs, troops missing in action honored at vigil

Community members and students gathered on the Quad on Friday for a POW/MIA ceremony honoring prisoners of war and those missing in action.

The 24-hour vigil coincided with National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which occurs on the third Friday of September.

“It kind of feels good to be part of it because it could be us one day,” said Jason Kim, junior in Business, who comes from a military family. “We are training right now, and once we get commission, we can go out there and sacrifice for our country. And it’s good to show that they are not forgotten and (to) give them respect.”

Kim said he appreciated the opportunity to express that respect.

Candles were lit at the event to symbolize remembrance, and participants wrote their personal thoughts on a message board and read stories of victims who were killed in war.

Every year, Navy, Army, Marine and Air Force cadets and midshipmen march and carry drill rifles in front of the candle display.

The event was hosted by the Arnold Air Society, a service organization that aims to create a positive image of Air Force ROTC and helps train cadets.

Maggie Kealy, vice commander of the organization and junior in LAS, said everyone in the nation should remember POWs and MIAs on this day.

“We are here to remind everybody else and to let everyone in the University and the public know that we still have these people … (and) we don’t know where they are,” she said. “They haven’t been returned to their families in maybe 30 years, and their families are still looking for them and if they died or live.”

Kealy said she was satisfied with the event. She said many students came to the display to ask about it and discuss the military in general.

She also said many people see the whole picture of the military as a big organization, but only to a lesser extent do they see each specific individual involved in it.

Trisdon Miller, member of the Arnold Air Society and junior in LAS, said this is a great opportunity to recognize the sacrifices made by all of those who have died in war.

“We have candles that we light in remembrance of them; there is a name associated with each of those,” he said. “Even though we don’t know where they are, we don’t know if they are alive anymore, we can say that this light is symbolic. We are not going to forget them because they sacrificed so much for us.”

Pulu can be reached at [email protected]