On their first day in the Army, soldiers are told to never leave a fallen comrade behind. That promise was echoed by 3rd ID Commanding General Leopoldo A. Quintas, Jr., during a POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony held Sept. 21 on Fort Stewart.
The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 789 sponsors the somber event to commemorate POW/MIA Recognition Day. The national observance is held the third Friday in September.
Quintas said the observance was, “a reminder of our sacred obligation to all men and women in uniform that we will never leave them behind.”
“Support for Americans missing and unaccounted-for in wartime, and their families, is deeply felt,” states an opinion posted on www.pow-miafamilies.org.
“America’s POW/MIAs can be honored and recognized, but not memorialized. The focus should be on sustaining commitment to account for them as fully as possible. Strong, united, active support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers.”
Members of VVA Chapter 789 read aloud the names of Georgia’s POW/MIAs. A brass bell was rung after each name was recited. A “missing man” table was set with a white tablecloth, flag, rose and candle in full view of those gathered.
On Saturday, Fort Stewart held a Gold Star and Survivor Outreach Ceremony. Gold Star families and friends gathered on Cottrell Field to pay homage to their fallen soldiers. About 100 people attended, including 14 Gold Star families.
The evening began with a dinner honoring the family members whose loved ones in the military lost their lives either “through combat operations or through training accidents, vehicle accidents or suicide,” according to a news release from Fort Stewart Public Affairs.
Survivor Outreach Services, which reaches out to the families of those lost to suicide, hosted a Lights of Love 2018 luminary display formed in the shape of a heart. The glowing display was positioned in front of the Marne Patch which is normally a backdrop for redeploying servicemembers.