There are still 88,000 people still missing from World War I to Vietnam wars.
Many Americans took the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families on National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Sept. 17.
American Legion Posts 903 (Mt. Pocono) and 927 (Gilbert) held a special Remembrance Ceremony and picnic on Sept. 18 at Post 927.
They honored eight area former POWs: Charles Sincavage, Nesquehoning, WW II; Richard Kolbek, Albrightsville, WW II; Bernard Miller, Wind Gap, WW II; Paul Demciak, Gouldsboro, WW II; Wilson Solt, Lehighton, WW II; Robert Schotter, Tobyhanna, Korean War; Eugene Fichter, Allentown, WW II; Theodore Piekanski, Tobyhanna.
They each received a certificate of Honor and American Legion coins.
Visitors and honored guests were welcomed by the Monroe County American Legion's commander, Thomas Gowditch and the Rev. James Mills, the Monroe County American Legion's chaplain, gave the invocation. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Prisoner of War Pledge of Allegiance was read and the national anthem was sung.
The Missing Man Table ceremony was led by Post 927's chaplain George McGrath, explaining the symbolism of each item.
"The table is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their Country's call to arms.
The single rose in the vase signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep faith while awaiting their return.
The red ribbon on the case represents the red ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand, with unyielding determination, a proper account of our comrades who are not among us.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
The glass is inverted, they cannot toast with us at this time.
The chair is empty. They are NOT here.
The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope that lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to open arms of a grateful nation.
The American Flag reminds us that many of them may never return - and have paid the supreme sacrifice to ensure our freedom.
Let us pray to the Supreme Commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
Let us remember - and never forget their sacrifice.
May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families."
He also read a proclamation made by President Barack Obama.
"Until every story ends" is a solemn promise to those who wear the uniform of the United States that they will never be left behind or forgotten. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we pay tribute to the American men and women who never returned home from combat, to those who faced unthinkable suffering as prisoners of war in distant lands, and to all servicemembers who have defended American lives and liberties with unwavering devotion. As a grateful Nation, we can never repay the profound debt to our heroes, and we will not rest until we have accounted for the missing members of our Armed Forces."
John Harper, Monroe County Sr. Vice Commander thanked everyone.
"Your service goes a long way."