War vet­er­ans hon­ored at solemn POW/MIA Day cer­e­mony

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

NOR­RIS­TOWN » Mont­gomery County of­fi­cials took a mo­ment Fri­day, Sept. 21, to re­mem­ber those ser­vice men and women who never got the chance to re­turn home.

Out­side the Mont­gomery County Court­house, Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers held a cer­e­mony to re­mem­ber those vet­er­ans who were pris­on­ers of war or miss­ing in ac­tion. POW/ MIA Day is ob­served ev­ery year on the third Fri­day in Septem­ber.

“We are here on the an­nual POW/MIA Day where we reded­i­cate our­selves to the mem­ory of those miss­ing in ac­tion and POWs. There are now 40,031 in­di­vid­u­als that have that sta­tus so it’s im­por­tant that we re­mem­ber that,” said Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sioner Chair­woman Va­lerie Arkoosh.

The cer­e­mony took place on Main Street in front of the court­house’s Viet­nam Me­mo­rial. On Fri­day, Sept. 21, ad­di­tional re­minders were added to the space in­clud­ing a set ta­ble sym­bol­iz­ing those miss­ing.

“The ta­ble is round to show our ev­er­last­ing con­cern. The cloth is white, sym­bol­iz­ing the pu­rity of their mo­tives when an­swer­ing the call to serve. The sin­gle red rose re­minds us of the lives of those Amer­i­cans and their friends and loved ones who kept the faith while seek­ing an­swers. The yel­low rib­bon sym­bol­izes our con­tin­ued un­cer­tainty and hope of their re­turns. The slice of lemon re­minds us of their bit­ter fate, cap­tured and miss­ing in a for­eign land,” ex­plained Bill Keyes, for­mer com­man­der of the Dis­abled Amer­i­can Vet­er­ans.

“A pinch of salt sym­bol­izes the tears for our miss­ing and their fam­i­lies who long for an­swers. The lighted can­dle re­flects our hope for their re­turn, alive or dead. The Bi­ble rep­re­sents the strength gained through faith to sus­tain us and those lost for our coun­try founded as one na­tion un­der God. The glass is in­verted to sym­bol­ize their in­abil­ity to share a toast. The chair is empty. They are miss­ing,” con­tin­ued Keyes.

Also placed by the me­mo­rial was a POW chair that is usu­ally placed in­side the court­house. The chair was kept at the me­mo­rial for the re­main­der of the day.

“The mon­u­ment be­hind us, the chair be­hind us, re­mind us that ev­ery day we should keep our sol­diers cur­rently in ac­tions, those that we’ve lost in the line of duty and those that have gone miss­ing in our thoughts and prayers, and the fam­i­lies of those sol­diers,” said Com­mis­sioner Joe Gale.

The brief cer­e­mony was fol­lowed by a mo­ment of si­lence af­ter com­ments from com­mis­sion­ers and Keyes.

“Here at the county we are so grate­ful for all of our vet­er­ans, for their ser­vice and do any­thing that we can to sup­port them,” said Arkoosh.

So far this year, Com­mis­sion­ers have helped 490 vet­er­ans file for earned VA claims ben­e­fits which is val­ued at about $4 mil­lion, Arkoosh said.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the county has pro­vided as­sis­tance to 88 vet­er­ans and their fam­ily mem­bers who were home­less or at risk of home­less­ness and now have two shut­tles that pro­vide trans­porta­tion for vet­er­ans who need to at­tend med­i­cal ap­point­ments.

The cer­e­mony closed with a ren­di­tion of “Taps” and a salute by the Mont­gomery County Honor Guard.


From left, Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sioner Joe Gale, Com­mis­sion­ers’ Chair­woman Va­lerie Arkoosh and Wil­liam Keyes stand be­hind a sym­bolic ta­ble set to re­mind view­ers of those POW and MIA vet­er­ans.


The Mont­gomery County Honor Guard stood above the Viet­nam Me­mo­rial out­side the Mont­gomery County court­house, tak­ing part in the POW/MIA Day cer­e­mony.


Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers held a cer­e­mony ob­serv­ing POW/MIA day. The event, held out­side the Mont­gomery County court­house served as a re­minder of those who saw ac­tion and never re­turned home.


“Taps” was played out­side the Mont­gomery County Court­house Fri­day fol­low­ing a mo­ment of si­lence in re­mem­brance of POW and MIA vet­er­ans.


Mont­gomery County Com­mis­sion­ers Chair­woman Va­lerie Arkoosh spoke dur­ing a cer­e­mony in re­mem­brance of POW/ MIA vet­er­ans.


Mem­bers of the Mont­gomery County Honor Guard stood in line dur­ing the a cer­e­mony hon­or­ing POW/MIA vet­er­ans. POW/MIA Day is ob­served on the third Fri­day of Septem­ber ev­ery year.

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