Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

September 16, 2014 at 2:55pm

Remembering Our POWs and MIAs: JBLM hosts commemorative ride

Thirty-three bikers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord took part in a ride honoring the 2014 POW/MIA Remembrance Week. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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The bikers showed up.

Some rode in individually; others rode in groups of two or three.

All represented Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"It's one team, one fight, right?" commented Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Morain as we stood in a parking lot next to Memorial Grove at McChord Field and watched as the riders gathered.

Morain welcomed the airmen and soldiers as they climbed off their Harleys and Hondas.

"I wanted to do something here at JBLM in honor of POW/MIA Recognition Day, and the opportunity to do so just presented itself," he added.

Traditionally observed across the country on the third Friday of September, it is a time for Americans to remember those who were prisoners of war (POWs) or are still missing in action (MIA) and their family members.

The symbol of the day is the POW/MIA Flag.

Designed in 1971 during the Vietnam War by Newt Heisley to honor POWs and MIAs, he created a simply black and white flag featuring a guard tower, barbed wire and the visage of a gaunt young man.

Other than the American flag, the POW/MIA flag is the only one to ever fly over the White House.

More than 78,000 Americans are unaccounted for from World War II; more than 8,100 are unaccounted for from the Korean War, and over 2,500 are unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

"We gather here today to remember our POWs and MIA individuals," said Senior Master Sgt. Sean Judkins.

"They have displayed the core values of our Armed Forces - loyalty, duty respect selfless service, honor courage, integrity commitment, excellence and devotion to duty."

After a short safety briefing by Judkins, the riders headed out to share hot dogs and stories with veterans at the Washington State Soldiers Home in Orting.

>>> Spc. Benjamin Thibodeau, 551st Medical Logistics Company, prepares for a Remembrance Ride to the Washington State Soldiers home in Orting. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"We ride in their name and honor," said Spc. Benjamin Thibodeau, 551st Medical Logistics Company.

For a schedule of events for POW/MIA Remembrance Week, visit www.lewis-mcchord.army.mil/calendar.html.

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