NEVER FORGET: POW & MIA remembered at Battleship Memorial Park

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 9:35 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The third Friday in September is recognized as Prisoners of War and Missing In Action Recognition Day. Friday evening -- the South Alabama Veterans Council not only remembered those men and women -- but honored their families.

The sunset providing the backdrop at Battleship Memorial Park’s Vietnam Veteran Memorial.

“For every American still missing and unaccounted for in the past conflicts is entitled to one certainty -- that he or she will not be forgotten,” said CDR Pete Riehm, USN (Ret).

More than 81,000 U.S. servicemen and women are still unaccounted for.

“That’s a lot of men and women -- so we want to recognize those who are not only POWs and served the indignity and the hardship of being a prisoner of war -- but also to recognize those and the families who have loved ones who are not with them today,” said Lou Lartigue, South Alabama Veterans Council President.

“I think about them every day,” said Bill Bergman, South Alabama Veterans Council.

Bergman recalls watching POWs released from Hanoi -- being greeted at Clark Air Force base in the Philippines in the late 60s.

“Those men were just so humble to be repatriated back into the United States again -- you had to love them,” said Bergman.

Still work is being done to not only locate but identify the missing.

“This one is particularly important to all of us -- because we can never forget those that gave the ultimate sacrifice by becoming prisoners of war and those that are currently missing in action and it’s important for us to remember -- because we are still repatriating some. If we find their bodies or remains in other countries we make it a point to bring them back,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Cynthia House.

Lighting the first candle is Terry Frazier -- her late husband Glenn Frazier -- a POW from the Bataan Death March. The candles and the Missing Man Table -- a symbol America will never forget -- and constant reminder to remember year-round.

A similar event is being held -- Saturday at the State Capital.