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Community remembers lost soldiers during memorial service
Ceremony observes POW/MIA Remembrance Day
7. POW MIA pic 1
Dawson County High School JROTC Cadet Chasity Jacobs and Cadet Staff Sergeant Brooklynn Siens salute the POW/MIA flag as it is raised by Cadet Sergeant Erin Reed during the POW/MIA Remembrace ceremony Friday. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Dawson County Veterans took time last week to remember brothers-in-arms that were either captured or never returned from battle.

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 970, Veterans Affairs of Dawson County and the Dawson County High School JROTC held a remembrance service Friday in honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day at Veterans Memorial Park to pay respect to soldiers who remain missing in action or were once prisoners of war.

"On the POW/MIA flag is the silhouette of a gaunt American being watched by a guard tower, behind a barbed wire fence," said Don Brown, president of the Dawson County Veterans Affairs board. "On that flag are the words: ‘You are not forgotten.'"

This flag was adopted by Congress in 1990 and flies officially in the United States. Friday was one of six days that the black POW/MIA flag is flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations.

"As of today, there continues to be 1,627 Americans listed by the [Department of Defense] as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War - 467 from North Vietnam, 802 from South Vietnam, 302 from Laos, 49 from Cambodia and seven from the Peoples' Republic of China territorial waters," said Larry Harris, VVA 970 Vice President.

According to current records, there are close to 88,000 American soldiers that remain unaccounted from foreign conflicts.

"Our struggles throughout the years have been momentous. Each of our previous wars has resulted in staggering numbers - over 7,800 in Korea, nearly 7,900 in World War II," Brown said. "Today is a day to remember those missing in action. Throughout our history, we have continued to defend the principals of freedom and liberty."

During the service, names of each Georgia soldier who remains missing were read by local veterans. Following the reading of the names, the POW/MIA flag was replaced by the Dawson County JROTC.

A missing man table was also set in memory of those who never returned.

"America owes these brave men and women eternal gratitude. Freedom comes with a price," Brown said at the ceremony. "Today, we are here to remember and honor those POWs and MIAs unaccounted for today who fought to protect our freedom and lost theirs for future generations."