FROM THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – On Friday, Sept. 18, Alabama will honor America’s former prisoners of war (POW) and pay reverence to those servicemembers who remain missing in action (MIA) with a virtual ceremony commemorating National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The public can view the ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday by visiting the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/alsdva/.
The ceremony will include remarks by former World War II prisoners of war Seymour “Sy” Lichtenfeld of Mobile and George Mills of Decatur. Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Kent Davis will give the keynote address.
In 1944, while assigned to different Army commands, Lichtenfeld and Mills were captured by German forces during the Battle of the Bulge. Suffering from frostbite, Lichtenfeld and 5,000 other American POWs were marched 110 miles to a POW camp.
Mills was among more than 1,500 American soldiers who were forced to march across Europe for five month, which cost the lives of more than 1,200 POWs who died from starvation, dysentery, and the freezing cold. In April 1945, Lichtenfeld, Mills, and other American POWs were liberated.
More than 81,900 American servicemembers remain missing in action from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other conflicts.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.