COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Defense Supply Center Columbus held a solemn yet heartfelt ceremony Sept. 16 inside the Building 20 auditorium in honor of POW/MIA day.
From poignant videos, a moment of silence, and a toast in remembrance of those missing in action decades earlier, the observance focused on our responsibility as a nation to those who served our country in uniform and their families to remain steadfast in bringing them all home.
“We owe it to all those who put on the uniform of the United States to remain unwavering in our promise to them,” James McClaugherty, DLA Land and Maritime’s acting commander, said.
“They’re willing to pay the highest price to preserve our peace and freedom. They do so with confidence, knowing that if captured, injured or killed in battle, our nation will make every effort to bring them home, that they will never, ever be abandoned or forgotten.”
The Columbus regional coordinator of The National League of POW/MIA Families, Liz Flick, was the guest speaker. Married to a U.S. Navy sailor she met while living in England where she was born and raised, Flick has been involved with the league since 1973 and is a staunch advocate for family members of those listed as either a Prisoner of War or Missing in Action.
“If we send our men and women into harm’s way, wearing our country’s uniform, it’s our duty to do all we can to make sure they return home,” she said.
Flick weaved in stories of families who finally had their chance to say their goodbyes when their loved ones were returned to them after years of being missing. One such family was that of Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr., who taught Military Science at The Ohio State University before deploying to Vietnam in 1968. He went missing Dec. 13 of that same year and 45 years later to the day, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. One of his daughters was in attendance at the ceremony as Flick spoke.
“(Those stories) underscore the reason we have National POW/MIA day,” Flick said. “Family members will tell you that getting an answer is the most wonderful gift you can imagine.
“For those taken prisoner or lost in combat, our nation must continue to support their families and those working to recover and identify them, often in unbelievably difficult circumstances.”
Those in attendance also watched a moving video created by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency about Sgt. 1st Class Alan Boyer, whose remains were returned to U.S. soil earlier this year after being listed MIA during a reconnaissance mission near the Vietnamese border in 1968.
Members of the Ohio National Guard presented the Table of Remembrance toast in honor of our POW/MIAs, and everyone joined together in singing “God Bless America” to close out the ceremony.