National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday in September. It honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. It is one of six days that the POW/MIA flag can be flown.

Today, we salute the men and women who served and sacrificed to keep America free. We also recognize the families of the missing, those who continue to hope and pray that their loved ones will one day return home from their wars.

According to the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office, more than 73,000 Americans remain unaccounted for from World War II. Another 7,500 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Since 1973, the remains of more than 900 Americans killed in the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors, but 1,600 Americans still remain unaccounted for from this conflict.

We are blessed to live in the only country that actively pursues the recovery and return of our missing soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians.

We pray that these Americans and their families are one day brought peace, and we can reassure these families that veterans organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars will never rest until our nation has obtained the fullest possible accounting of all of our missing.

We stand beside the families who continue to burn the candle of hope, as the actively helps our government perform the most humanitarian of all humanitarian missions in bringing closure to these families.

Don Demers, adjutant

American Legion Post 205

Augusta