Dozens of Rockford area community members pay tribute to America's heroes who have yet to come home. It's happening across the nation for Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Recognition Day. Supporters keep hope alive for thousands of missing military men and women.
Organizers don't call this a memorial. They say it's a tribute to those unaccounted for and their service.
"We strongly believe that there are still live Americans being held against their will in foreign lands and that these people wish to return home to America and that some of them can be found and brought back to this country." -says Vietnam Veteran Mike Parker.
Rockford area veterans present colors, the National Anthem plays and supporters say a prayer for the more than 80,000 missing Americans from conflicts dating back to World War II. Parker believes POW's, those MIA and their families all deserve closure.
"When a man signs up for the military, he makes a contract with the government. He will do his best and fight to the death if he has to, but on the other hand, the government should promise to never leave that man dead or alive." -he says.
The soldiers who made it home feel the nationally-recognized day is for appreciation and responsibility.
"No other country has what we have, no country will ever have what we have. It's just what we're founded on. The freedom came from those who we're celebrating today; the prisoners, the MIA, the ones who went before us and died, didn't make it back. We have to keep their memory alive." -says Navy veteran Michael Sminchak.
Also in Friday night's ceremony, candle lighting and a rifle volley.
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