By Lucia Viti

September 16, 2022 at 5:00 am EDT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In 1979, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Every American president since has issued the same proclamation. Today, Friday, September, 16, Jacksonville continues that tradition.

As America acknowledges National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Jacksonville’s Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial Inc., will host a POW/MIA Memorial to honor former prisoners of war, those still missing in action, and those whose whereabouts remain a mystery.

The public service, officiated by Chaplain Pat Archuleta, Air Force (Ret.), who serves as the Chaplain for the Memorial Museum, begins on Friday, September 16, at 10:30 a.m. in the Chapel of the High-Speed Pass on 6112 POW-MIA Memorial Parkway.

“Many families continue to grieve and anguish over the loss of their loved ones,” he said. “This is a day of reverance dedicated to families as they remember those they have lost. Remembering our loved ones should remain a part of our history.”

Established in 2016, the Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that serves as a historic national memorial noted as a destination site. Located on 26-acres in Northeast Florida at the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Master Jet Base (1941-1999) is currently known as Cecil Commerce Center. The NationalPOW/MIA Memorial & Museum is dedicated to those Naval Aviators that were stationed at NAS Cecil Field during the Vietnam War and Desert Shield and Desert Storm eras.

“The Cecil Field POW/MIA organization is honored to host this special service,” said Capt. Sam Houston, President of the Cecil Field POW/MIA Memorial, Inc. “We invite the public to attend this service and share in honoring those who were imprisoned and those who are still missing.”

The two-day event also includes a display of the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall presented by American Legion Post 250. The Memorial Wall will remain on display until 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 17.

Also on Saturday, 100 American Legion Riders participating in Jacksonville’s Seven Bridges Ride will complete their journey at the POW/MIA Memorial between Noon and 1:00 p.m. There an additional service – open to the public – will be officiated by Chaplain Archuleta.

“Motorcycle riders will culminate their seven bridges ride at the Chapel at Cecil Field with a second memorial,” he said. “It’s an honor for me as a minister of the Gospel and of course, as the Chaplain, to serve at the Memorial. The Chapel is there for Veterans and their families.

In a recent press release, The National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum stated their support in American and foreign governments working together to bring home the more than 82,000 members of the military still Missing in Action and unaccounted for since World War II.

“The National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum in Jacksonville allows visitors to honor all former Prisoners of War and to remember and never forget those Missing in Action as well as the families who seek their return,” they said.

The National League of Families POW/MIA flag – the POW/MIA flag – was adopted in 1972. The black and white silhouette flag remains the official emblem of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. In 2019, the National POW/MIA Flag Act was signed into law, requiring these POW/MIA flag to be flown on designated federal properties, including the U.S. Capitol Building, on all days that the American flag is flown.

©2022 Cox Media Group

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