Rain and cold didn’t stop a large crowd from turning out for the dedication of the POW\MIA memorial at Cedar Bluff Overlook Park April 26.
The memorial features flags from all branches of the military, as well as the state and the POW flag. Representatives of the Iron Titans and other organizations raised the flags to the sounds of patriotic music.
Jim Boyd, who served as guest speaker for the ceremony told the group that many soldiers come home from the battle field alive and well while many others are wounded or come home in flag draped coffins.
Boyd said many soldiers have been imprisoned and recalled James Stockdale being held prisoner in Vietnam for more than seven years. Stockdale was the senior naval officer held prisoner and was Ross Perot’s running mate in the 1992 presidential race.
Boyd told the gathering Stockdale’s wife and other wives of prisoners of war worked together to make the public aware of the pows and the importance of bringing them home. Boyd asked the group to pray for service men and women that they all be brought home safely.
Hannah Little ranking officer in the JROTC at Richlands High School spoke about the history of the POW flag and its creation in 1971 by Mary Hoff an MIA wife as a symbol for the commitment to seeing them all accounted for.
Jim Ray talked about the 50 state tour the flag took last year and announced that another tour would start from the overlook park. Ray said the first tour brought a lot of attention to the flag and the soldiers still missing.
The trip ended with the placing of missing man chairs throughout the area and several members of the group placing a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. A wreath was also places at the monument in the overlook park.