09/17/04 — Prisoners of war: Wayne programs express the community’s thanks

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Prisoners of war: Wayne programs express the community’s thanks

Anyone who serves in the U.S. military learns quickly that one of the most frightful consequences of combat is capture. Our prisoners of war may be subjected to unthinkable pain and humiliation.

In recent years, enemies have tortured Americans not just to wrest strategic information from them, but simply out of hatred. Our opponents in the war on terror are motivated by a powerful religious conviction that we are infidels, fair game for any sort of punishment.

It is appropriate that a time be set aside periodically to honor those who have endured that cruel form of imprisonment and to remember those, if any, who may still be held from past wars. Few communities do it as well as Wayne County is doing this week.

A ceremony was held Friday at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to call the prisoners to mind. There was another program at the base chapel on Tuesday, a day that had been designated as POW/MIA Recognition Day by the Wayne County commissioners.

Finally, a public banquet in honor of those known to have been captured or who disappeared during combat is planned off-base on Saturday evening. The event will be at the Elk’s Lodge on Chestnut Street, and admission will be $10.

There were former POWs at each of the base events, and others will be at the Elks Lodge dinner, including R.C. Gregory, who survived the bloody Bataan Death March in the Philippines in 1942.

This program expresses the gratitude of the community, and it is worthy of the community’s support.

Published in Editorials on September 17, 2004 11:40 AM