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According to the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency, more than 81,600 Americans remain missing in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and more. Conflicts.

That is why each year, the National Prisoner of War / MIA Appreciation Day is celebrated on the third Friday of September. Locally, a remembrance ceremony was held Friday morning at Elizabethtown Nature Park, in honor of those who served their country but never returned home.

Hosted by the POW / MIA Flag Guard, the event featured remarks from Tommie Eiland, Commanding Officer of VFW Station 10281 in Vine Grove, and POW / MIA Flag Guard member Ed Sherod.

Harry Braxton, a former U.S. Army intelligence sergeant, served as the emcee.

During his remarks, Eiland honored not only the missing US servicemen, but their family members as well.

“We have a huge population of fellow Americans who continue to cry silently every day,” he said. “Although war and conflict may end, their sadness has not been. “

According to the Defense POW / MIA Accounting Agency, 14 Kentuckians who served during the Vietnam conflict are still missing. Eiland read each of their names aloud during the ceremony.

“Let us remember those who put their country before themselves and did not return home to their families,” said Eiland.

One of 14 Kentuckians on the Accounting Agency’s list is US Army Lt. John Douglas Hale of Brandenburg, who died at the age of 28 in 1971 after his helicopter was shot down by enemy fire in the South Vietnam.

Although he was unable to attend Friday’s event, Brandenburg Mayor Ronnie Joyner released a statement in honor of Hale which was read by Sherod.

Sherod also read poems written in honor of POW / MIA soldiers during his remarks.

The ceremony also included an invocation, the honors of the POW / MIA flag and the placement of a POW / MIA wreath near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in the park.

Andrew Critchelow can be contacted at 270-505-1413 or [email protected]