The over 83,000 American POWs and MIAs who remain unaccounted for were honored during a Freedom Luncheon on Sept. 27 at Grover King Post 1115. The program included the history of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, Constitution Week, a remembrance ceremony for the POWs and MIAs, and a history of the Statue of Liberty.
Ed Buchanan, Chief of Staff for Post 1115, said most of the VFW posts across the country “recognize the POWs and MIAs” with a Freedom Luncheon.
“We do this so these people are not forgotten,” said Buchanan. “We still have families, especially those of Vietnam veterans, wanting accountability from the government. We need to go after countries that still have knowledge of our POWs and MIAs.”
“We lobby our congressmen on the state level as well as nationally, because they tend to overlook the veterans. We want our veterans to be recognized and treated fairly. Prosthetics and disabilities are very expensive.”
Following the blessing and lunch, Donna Minton, patriotic instructor of the Ladies Auxiliary, presented a brief history of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week. William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, first advocated U.S. Citizenship Day in 1939. A year later, Congress created I Am an American Day to be celebrated on the third Sunday in May. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law Citizenship Day, which replaced I Am an American Day. Then in 1956, Congress requested the president proclaim the week of Sept. 17-23 Constitution Week. One more change was made in 2004 when Sept. 17, the day the delegates signed the Constitution of the United States, was designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
Buchanan addressed the audience about the importance of never forgetting the men and women who have “served our country,” while he and Elsie Turner, secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary, performed an “empty-table ceremony” to honor POWs and MIAs.
Minton then concluded the ceremony with a brief history of the Statue of Liberty and read the inscription that written on the base of the structure.