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Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action remembered

September 18, 2009

Incarcerated Veterans of Roxbury observe National POW/MIA Recognition Day

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Prisoners of War and armed services personnel reported missing during active service were honored Friday at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"When we think of former Prisoners of War and those Missing In Action, we are reminded of the ultimate sacrifice of our men and women in uniform ... to protect our country ... and preserve freedom here in America and around the world," Timothy Cooke, acting associate director the medical center, said in prepared remarks for the ceremony. "Our POWs often endured the worst of human conditions -- imprisonment, starvation, physical pain and sometimes death."

There are nearly 200 known former prisoners of war in the four-state area serviced by the medical center, according to officials.

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The program, which began with the presentation of colors by Martinsburg High School Jr. ROTC, included a Missing Man Table ceremony to represent the empty places of Americans still missing from each of the five branches of service and civilian force.

The laying of the wreaths for World War II, Korea and Vietnam wars followed the Missing Man ceremony.

Local author and historian Ed Kemp was the program's guest speaker.

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