POW/MIA recognition ceremony Friday at VA

FROM STAFF REPORTS
MOUNTAIN HOME -- What is it like to be a prisoner of war? Sonny Mottern of Elizabethton, a POW during World War II, will detail his life experiences as a former POW during a special ceremony at 2 p.m. Friday at Mountain Home.
The James H. Quillen VA Medical Center is hosting the ceremony for former POWs and MIAs, or those missing in action. The event will be held at the VA gazebo.
Bill Hampton, president of Rolling Thunder TN Chapter 4 also is scheduled to speak, followed by Mottern and the traditional "Empty Chair" ceremony conducted by Wright Swanay, also a WWII POW from Elizabethton.
More than 14,000 American soldiers died while prisoners of war during World War II, another 130,201 Army, Air Corps, Navy and Marines were captured, and the remains of 78,773 were never recovered.
As of January, out of all U.S. conflicts, World War II led in the number of U.S. soldiers captured, dead, or missing, followed by Korea, WWI, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.
The public is invited to attend the VA ceremony and to join others across America as they pause to solemnly honor the sacrifices of POWs and to remember American servicemen still missing.
The ceremony will reinforce the idea that there are "no forgotten conflicts, no forgotten soldiers, and no forgotten promises," according to Judy Fowler-Argo, public affairs officer for the VA Mountain Home.
"We will pay tribute to all our nation's POWs and MIAs who endured captivity, brutality and deprivations in the extreme. It also will be a time of rededicating ourselves to the fullest possible accounting of service members who were lost in the firestorm of battle," she said.