Military News

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In memory of the missing

by Airman 1st Class Ashley Williamson
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

9/22/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C.  -- The Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Remembrance Week was held, Sept. 14-17, here to remind Airmen of those who served as POW/MIAs.

Every year, POW/MIA Remembrance Week is held to pay respect to the POWs or MIA's who did not return home from war.

"There are so many people who have served before us, giving their lives and going into unknown dangers to fight for our safety and security as a nation," said Master Sgt. Benjamin Ackerman, 4th Contracting Squadron contracting officer. "Too many of those same people have never made it home, and their loved ones have been left to wonder what has happened. I could not imagine not having that sense of closure, and to be able to be part of anything that can show these families that their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of their loved ones, is not forgotten, it is truly something that anyone that has a patriotic heart should do."

The week kicked off with a 5K run in front of 4th Fighter Wing headquarters where more than 150 Airmen participated. A motorcycle precession led the 5K run.

"It's important because we don't want to forget," said Master Sgt. Katie Neeley, 4th Aerospace Medicine Squadron dental flight chief. "You get busy with your day to day life, work, everything going on. Sometimes you forget where we came from, who paved the way for us, today as military members, not just in the Air Force, but every service."

Information booths were also displayed throughout the 4th Force Support Squadron, and two free movies, with POW/MIA themes, were shown at the base theater. The week's events also featured a 24-hour name reading and run at the 2-mile track. During the run, teams alternated running with the POW/MIA flag and reading the names of fallen heroes. The run ended at the closing ceremony for the National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

"The 5k and 24-hour runs were both awesome in their own rights," said Ackerman. "The 5k because this was the first year we did it and had about 150 runners involved, and the 24-hour run because I think the tie in of the end of the run into the closing ceremony with a motorcycle escorted transfer of the flag was pretty awesome."

At the ceremony, a recitation of the Loneliest Prayer by Del "Abe" Jones was read, four F-15E Strike Eagles performed a missing man flyover, and retired U.S. Army Gen. Dan K. McNeill commemorated POW/MIA service members for their courage and honor.

"We're here to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, those who have not come home," McNeill said. "On some quiet evenings, if we listen closely, we can hear the quiet sobs of a mother or a spouse for someone who didn't come home."

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