Local group remembers POWs and those who never returned from war

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 10:33 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The third Friday of September is known as National POW and MIA Remembrance Day which was established to honor prisoners of war and those still missing in action. The Rockford chapter of Vietnam2Now hosted a ceremony as part of the day.

This year’s ceremony is the organization’s 27th year commemorating the day and it also honored the group’s pastor Bob Theroux, who passed away this past March. Chairman Michael Belinson previously served in Vietnam in an army surgical hospital and says the organization lights candles for those around Illinois who are still missing in action.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the group made a video of the ceremony and they still showed the video this year but it was in person. Belinson says this day is a somber one and hopes ceremonies like this spread the word further about this day, which many people may not even know exist.

“There are probably over 2000, maybe 2500 Veterans of other wars in the US that have never returned. There are ceremonies in twelve different countries where some are buried. It’s important for them to realize there are families that have never seen their family military member again,” Belinson says.

He tells 23 News there were years of informal events for National POW and MIA Remembrance Day going back to the Jimmy Carter administration in 1979. But it didn’t come until the 1990s that U.S. Congress officially declared the third Friday in September as the remembrance day.