BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Every year, on the third Friday of September, Americans recognize those who became prisoners of war (POW) while serving our country and those who are still missing in action (MIA).
In order to “remember those missing in action, those identified, and honor those who endured a POW experience,” the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford says it will hold a wreath-laying ceremony on Friday, Sept. 17.
According to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, the ceremony will recognize the five most recent Virginians whose remains have been identified by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency:
- Navy Fireman 1st Class Andrew Schmitz of Richmond, who was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 during World War II.
- Army Staff Sgt. Raymond Blanton of Richmond, who was killed in action in Germany on Oct. 14, 1944 during World War II.
- Army Pfc. Bobbie Ray Daniels of Bedford, who was reported MIA on Aug. 16, 1950 in South Korea during the Korean War and officially declared dead on May 1, 1953.
- Marine Pfc. Henry Ellis of Roanoke, who was killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950 in North Korea during the Korean War.
- Army Cpl. Ralph Cale of Covington, who was reported MIA on Dec. 2, 1950 in North Korea after being killed during the Korean War.
The foundation says the USA Patriots — formerly known as the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team — will take part in the ceremony, which will also feature special music by Rick Dellinger.
The ceremony starts at 1 p.m. on Friday, but the memorial will offer free admission from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. No coolers or pets are allowed — except for service animals — and guests are asked to bring their own chairs.
According to a statement released by the White House for National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2021, more than 81,600 American service members are still missing in action from this country’s wars and conflicts.
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