Honor veterans on POW/MIA Recognition Day

PHOTOS BY JENNIFER AMATO/STAFF

Our country is founded on the men and women who have fought and sacrificed for the freedom that we hold so dear.

Of the millions of men and women who have served in our military forces, both past and present, 82,000 remain missing from various conflicts. Every September, we as a nation remember and honor these men and women and pay tribute to their families and their sacrifices during National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The POW/MIA League of Families flag, commissioned by the wife of a missing Vietnam War soldier and designed by a World War II pilot, represents sorrow, anxiety and hope. It is required by federal law to be flown on six days throughout the year – Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day – at locations throughout the nation, including the White House and all offices of the United State Postal Service.

The central phrase for the remembrance of America’s POW/MIA servicemembers displayed on the flag is “You Are Not Forgotten.” On Sept. 20, our nation will epitomize that phrase by holding its annual ceremony at the Pentagon to ensure we honor those who never returned home.

Locally, please show your support of these brave men and women and their families by attending a service near you. One such service in Middlesex County is being held from noon on Sept. 20 through 10 a.m. on Sept. 21 at Metuchen Memorial Park. You can also check your city’s website to find out where services will be held.

Please always remember these veterans and the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe.

Ronald G. Rios is the director of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He writes the occasional column for Newspaper Media Group.