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Local VFW invites community to POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony

By Staff | Sep 8, 2009

On Friday, Sept. 18, the North Fort Myers VFW Post 10127 will hold a military prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action Remembrance Ceremony. The POW/MIA ceremony begins at 5 p.m. and officials are inviting the entire community to attend.
Just last week, the post’s representative and volunteer Jeff Rousey attended a VFW District meeting, when the issue of MIAs was prominent.
“It was announced that one marine’s family was notified that he was missing in action in Afghanistan along with four other marines on his team,” Rousey said. “That was in the last week.”
Rousey wants the community to attend the special night at the post.
Traditionally, he said, that date is recognized for honoring those missing in action and those who have been prisoners of war.
“Obviously this is very near and dear to our hearts,” said Rousey.
“We’re actually going to have a former POW here for the event.”
Paul Wilcox, a veteran of the the Korean War and World War II, will be the guest speaker.
“The heart of this program is to raise awareness in the community so we can get the support we need to to continue the effort to recover
our POW/MIAs,” Rousey said.
There are several variations to the ceremony, but the post will be following the traditional “Missing Man Table and Honor Ceremony” as outlined by the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia.
The organization stipulates and narrates the event as follows:
“Set for six, the empty places represent Americans who were or are missing from each of the five services — Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard –and civilians, all with us in spirit.
“The table is round — to show our everlasting concern.
“The cloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
“The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these men and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers.
“The red ribbon symbolizes our continued determination to account for them.
“A slice of lemon reminds us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
“A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.
“The Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst.
“The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast.
“The chairs are empty — they are missing.”
Rousey said the post’s table will be elevated in the main dining area to note all the aspects of the ceremony.
The event will be followed with a steak dinner for $10 and entertainment by Aaron, who plays a variety of music.
“The North Fort Myers High School Junior ROTC will also be participating in the program,” he said.
The cause of supporting efforts concerning POW/MIAs is a primary effort for the post, he said.
“We also do donations and support the program as much as we can,” he said. The VFW’s national effort to account for POW/Mias are stated on vfw.org.
The event is free and open to the public, but tables will only be reserved for those who make reservations for the dinner.
For reservations and information call the post at 995-0230. It is located at 996 Pondella Road in North Fort Myers.