For the 31st year, as seen last year, United Bikers of Maine and American Legion members from Franklin and Oxford counties will participate in the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony Saturday morning, Sept. 16, in Jay. The third Friday in September is the day of the national observance but the local event was changed due to the guest speaker’s schedule. File photo/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Frank L. Mitchell VFW Post 3335, AMVETS Lane Dube Post 33, and American Legion Post 10, and their auxiliaries will hold the annual public POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at the POW/MIA Memorial.

The memorial is located at 12 Riley Road, near the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge and the intersection with Route 4. Parking is available beside Ski Depot and at Riverside Quick Stop. Limited mobility parking and seating will be available if displaying handicap emblem.

As of 2009, there were 1,741 American personnel listed as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War and another 841 listed as missing since the end of that war in 1975, according to the Time and Tide website about National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day in the United States. United States Congress authorized the first recognition July 18, 1979, after which it was held on various dates until 1986 when it was moved to the third Friday in September, the site notes. It also states the recognition is not a federal public holiday but is a national observance.

The local observance has been moved to Saturday morning this year to accommodate a special guest speaker from the Department of POW/MIA Accounting Agency [DPAA] from Hawaii.

“DPAA is the agency responsible for finding, locating, recovering, identifying, and then repatriating [returning] our Missing In Action Americans to their families,” Manter noted. “This is indeed an honor to have them at our community POW/MIA event, and a first for the agency to come to Maine!”

Guests this year will also include Maine families whose loved ones were prisoners of war or were repatriated in the past year.


This will be the 32nd consecutive year of the POW/MIA ceremony has occurred. For the 31st year, United Bikers of Maine and American Legion riders, under local law enforcement escorts will start the program recognition of local POW/MIAs.

“They ride 18 miles, symbolizing Maine’s 18 MIAs of the Vietnam era,” Jim Manter, judge advocate for VFW Post 3335 in Jay, said at last year’s ceremony. “The rumble of their engines draws attention to the upcoming ceremony.

“This year’s event will include lots of participation from our community’s young future leaders,” Manter noted recently. “We will have in the ceremony Civil Air Patrol color guard, and local students singing the National Anthem. Local musicians Jan and Tom Gill will begin performing patriotic-themed music at about 9:45 a.m.  The ceremony will officially begin once the bikers arrive, and all riders are safely parked, approximately 10 a.m.”

Maine DOT and the Town of Jay have again agreed to close the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge to traffic during the ceremony for safety reasons.

“The support of the Androscoggin and Franklin Sheriff departments, and Jay/Livermore Falls Police departments is so appreciated,” Dave Lachapell, VFW Post 3335 quartermaster, noted.

The annual POW/MIA ceremony is performed as a time-honored event to salute the veterans and families of the missing who continue to keep the candle of hope alive.

“Since World War II, more than 83,000 military men and women are missing or unaccounted for, and never made it home,” Rick Merrill, VFW Post 3335 commander, said. “This ceremony is to recognize the sacrifice and dedication of our military members and families, that we shall never forget them”.

For more information contact VFW Post 3335, [207]897-5112.

For more information on United States Prisoners of War and Missing In Action, visit the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) website,

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