By Phoebe Banks
SYRACUSE — A Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Remembrance Ceremony was conducted Sunday, Sept. 19, at the Wawasee American Legion Post 223, Syracuse.
The 20-minute ceremony was held on the south side of the Legion hall with a small group of Legion members attending.
The event was hosted by the post, its auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion.
The ceremony included the national anthem, reading of the numbers of POW/MIAs from all U.S. wars, an explanation of the POW/MIA table and poems. Taps was played and a 21-gun salute was conducted.
Chris Longenbaugh, service officer, welcomed those who attended the POW/MIA Remembrance Day, “to honor and remember all the men and women who were or still are held as POWs and those MIAs from all of our wars and conflicts.”
Jonathon Piercy, second vice president of the Sons of the American Legion, provided the opening and closing prayers as well as sung the national anthem and played taps following the 21-gun salute.
Chris Longenbaugh, the American Legion’s service officer, provided the numbers of POWs and MIAs from the Revolutionary War through the Iraq War. The reading ended with the names of local people, who were POWs and the wars they served in. Those names included: Civil War, George Epert, POW, Richmond, Va.; James Veneman, POW, Andersonville, Ga.; World War II, Harry Coy, POW, Italy; Ronald Kramer, POW, Germany; Charles McKibben, POW, Italy; Dale Miller, POW, Battle of the Bulge; Korean War, Marion Sawyer, MIA in 1951, who later reunited with his unit; and Vietnam War, Steve Lamley.
Longenbaugh read the meaning the POW/MIA table, “A Place Setting for All and a Table for All.” It is a tradition of setting a separate table in honor of POWs and missing service members since the end of the Vietnam War. The way in which the table is decorated is with special symbols. This reading recognized and explained why the table is smaller than other tables, the meaning of the white tablecloth, the empty chair, the round table and the items on the table — a Bible, black napkin, a single red rose, yellow candle and its ribbon, a slice of lemon, salt on the plate and an inverted wine glass.
Piercy also read the poem by Jose Garcia Acosta, titled “Missing In Action,” and a poem, “POW-MIA Missing But Not Forgotten,” whose author is unknown.