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President’s Message, September/October 2022 -   -  

POW/MIA: Still VVA’s Most Solemn Priority


From this old codger’s viewpoint, National POW/MIA Recognition Day seems to have a less-prominent meaning every year and is sparsely observed by younger generations of veterans.

For sure, it has been Vietnam War veterans who have championed the noble cause of bringing every captured warrior home, getting the fullest possible MIA accounting, and arranging the final repatriation of Americans missing in action.

The good news is that our recent wars have produced few POWs and bringing everyone home from war is now engrained into our military strategy.

So, what about VVA? Are we holding true to our commitment to keeping the POW/MIA issue as our most solemn priority?

Truthfully? Not with the same vigor or passion that we have in the past.

We cannot let the fact that we, as a nation, were fortunate in our recent wartime engagements to have had significantly fewer POWs than those in World Wars I and II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

That is primarily because the Vietnam War generation fostered and succeeded in embedding into our nation’s conscience the “don’t ever leave anyone behind” value as a sacred commitment of our national war strategy.

However, if the current prisoner treatment and conduct of the Russians in Ukraine is any indication of what might be experienced in future conflicts, then we must be aggressively committed to not letting the past be repeated. We need to stay true to keeping the POW/MIA issue alive in the public consciousness. Lest we forget, it is that awareness that will prevent the pain that too many families and veterans of our generation endured.

In that regard, I have directed that the POW/MIA Missing Man table will be exhibited prominently at every VVA national Board of Directors meeting, and at every national VVA conference and national VVA Convention. We will continue our Moment of Silence at the start of every meeting and activity, whether business or social. I also request that every VVA chapter, state council, region, and individual members recommit to our highest solemn priority.

To this end, a POW/MIA In Memory table has been assembled and is now on permanent display in the lobby of the VVA National office in Silver Spring. I would like to thank the installation team for their great work: Grant Coates, Mokie Porter, Katryna Lawson, Bintu Drammeh, and Kathleen Grathwol.

We are taking these actions to re-establish the fact that we collectively own the POW/MIA legacy issue. We will not allow it to fade away when we are gone.

On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 16, Vietnam Veterans of America will be well represented at the Pentagon ceremonies with a delegation, including your national president and vice president and the directors of the Government Affairs and Communications departments.




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