Candlelight vigil at Battleship park to honor POWs and MIAs

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Millions nationwide took Friday night to honor prisoners of war and those still missing in action. The third Friday of every September is used to honor these service members.

Locally, there was a candlelight vigil at Battleship Memorial Park.

There are 1,300 servicemembers from World War II still unaccounted for. Seymour Lichtenfeld was 18 years old when he entered the service. He was a Jew taken prisoner of war in Germany.

“I was captured during the Battle of the Bulge,” he said. “I was sent to four different prison camps, and I ended up in the far east where the Russians eventually liberated me.”

This all happened to him before even graduating high school. For six months, he was a prisoner.

“Life in prison was not the most enjoyable,” he said. “It’s occasions like this where I remember a lot of the guys who didn’t make it, and their faces come back to me.”

Though through life’s toughest challenge, he said he was made better because of it.

“It was an awesome experience, and I think it carved my way as an individual for later in life,” he said.

Others in attendance lit candles and remembered missing family members.

“There are groups of men and women who suffered to maintain our freedom, and some didn’t come home,” said Lou Lartigue, president of the South Alabama Veterans Council, and a veteran of the Vietnam War. “Some are still unaccounted for, and we have families out there that still have a hole in their heart.”

Now, Lichtenfeld was honored to stand there and at a remarkable age, 97.

“To me this is an honor to represent the 144,000 POWs of WWII,” he said.

Below is a list of POWs and MIAs from Mobile and Baldwin counties (provided by Bill Atkeison).

Korea War:

- Harry A. Arceneaux Jr., MIA

- James Earl Carter, POW

- Clifford Hazwood, MIA

- Leroy J. Raye, MIA

- Leslie T. Shelton Jr., KIA/BNR (killed in action/ body not recovered)

- Harold M. Steele, POW

- Marvin B. Strickland, MIA

- Ivey Eugene Vickers, KIA/BNR

- Jerald Clayton Webb, POW

Vietnam War:

- Robert Louis Kirksey, KIA/BNR

- Thomas E. Pettis, KIA/BNR

- Benjamin A. Thompson, KIA/BNR

- Robert F. Weimorts, KIA/BNR

Cold War:

- Robert Joseph Sykora, MIA

Middle East:

- Timothy Bell, KIA

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