By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
According to the Defense Prisoners of War and Missing Persons office, more than 83,000 Americans are still missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.
Hundreds of Defense Department men and women — both military and civilian — work in organizations around the world as part of the Department of Defense’s personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing missing personnel home.
The single symbol of their dedication and the nation’s dedication to never forget these men and women is a somber black and white flag. Other than “Old Glory,” the Prisoners of War/Missing in Action flag is the only flag ever to fly over the White House, having been displayed in this place of honor on National POW/MIA Recognition Day since 1982 and is the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
Schriever Air Force Base will honor those the flag represents from Monday to Sept. 13 with a week-long observance.
The events, put on by the Schriever 5/6 Council, include many activities for Team Schriever members to participate in beginning with a special reveille and opening ceremony Monday.
During the opening ceremony, Edwin Beck, a World War II prisoner of war, will be the guest speaker and help kick-off the week’s events.
“It is not often that we get the chance to meet a former POW,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Defilippo, the 5/6 Council vice president and one of the organizers of the week’s events. “It’s amazing to hear how they have gone through so much and managed to maintain strength, professionalism and patriotism. We can gain so much by learning from their experiences.”
The remembrance ceremony at the end of the week also boasts a guest speaker in retired Col. Paul Robinson, a Vietnam prisoner of war.
Throughout the week there will be information tables set up at different areas around base, a POW/MIA vigil and a 24-hour POW/MIA remembrance run.
Organizers encourage all to participate in the events offered.
“We encourage all of Team Schriever to attend these events because we as a military community are a family,” said Defilippo. “We are all thankful for the sacrifices of those who serve, but it’s more than just being thankful. We need to reflect it in our actions. By being a part of these events, we show appreciation for what POW/MIAs have given; we acknowledge that we have not forgotten their sacrifices and most importantly, we affirm our support to them and each other.”
Defilippo continued that Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Mickelsen, the 5/6 Council president and co-event organizer, as well as all members of the 5/6 Council involved in the week long event have put a lot of effort into taking this event to the next level.
“We have added several things to give it a personal touch,” said Defilippo. “For example, we are fundraising for POW/MIA charities and building posters for POW/MIAs related to Team Schriever members. All of these efforts would not be possible without the overwhelming support we have received around base. It’s great to see so many individuals and private organizations take part in contributing to such an important week.”
To sign up to participate in the 24-hour run contact Tech. Sgt. Shale Norwitz or Tech. Sgt. Gaston Lara at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.
The schedule of events include:
Sept. 9 7:30 a.m., Reveille in front of Building 210
9 a.m., Opening Ceremony at the Building 210 Atrium. Guest speaker, former POW, retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Edwin Beck (served in World War II)
Sept. 10 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., POW/MIA Vigil at Bldg 210 and the North/West Portals
Sept. 11 POW/MIA Information tables throughout the day around base
Sept. 12 9 a.m., Retreat at Building 210
9:15 a.m., 24-hour POW/MIA Vigil Run at designated ending Sept. 13 at 9 a.m.
Sept. 13 9:15 a.m., POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony at the Building 210 atrium. Guest speaker, former POW, retired Col. Paul Robinson (served in Vietnam War)