By 2nd Lt. Idalí Beltré Acevedo | 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — About one hundred Schriever Air Force Base members stood in formation in front of 50th Space Wing Headquarters to remember the more than 81,000 Americans who served in various wars and conflicts and have not returned home during a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition ceremony, Sept. 20, on Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.
Maj. Martin Adamson, 50th SW chaplain, led participants in prayer for all of those missing or unaccounted for immediately after reveille.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Tech. Sgt. Rey Rin, 50th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of installation security, served as the action officer for the ceremony.
“This ceremony is designed to take time to remember those who are prisoners of war or missing in action and honor the sacrifices they have made to keep America safe,” he said. “We also want to ensure their families know that their loved ones have not been forgotten.”
Tech. Sgt. Spencer Wallace, 50th Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of training and action officer for the ceremony, highlighted the missing man table at the Dish dining facility used in POW/MIA ceremonies. The table and symbolic place setting serves as a reminder of those missing, not able to dine with their fellow Airmen.
“[The table] constantly reminds us every day of our fellow wingmen who paid a high sacrifice for their country and the teammates who are still missing until this day.”
According to a POW/MIA spotlight on the Defense Department website, since the end of the Vietnam War, setting a separate table in honor of prisoners of war or those missing in combat has become a widely practiced military tradition. They are commonly located in the dining areas of military installations, at ceremonies and at events.
Rin said Airmen should not only remember their fallen brethren, but also reflect on their role as military members.
“On a day like this it is important for Airmen to remember why they are in the military, understanding that one day they may be called upon to sacrifice what current POWs and those MIA have sacrificed,” he said.
Col. Jack Fischer, 50th SW vice commander, highlighted the importance of reflection during this day while urging Airmen to remain vigilant to upcoming threats to our nation.
“We need to never forget,” he said.