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POW/MIA ceremony planned this week

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Base officials will hold a ceremony Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. at the POW/MIA Memorial here to remember the sacrifice and service of prisoners of war, members still missing in action and their families.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is held the third Friday of September.

“Among the POWs we will remember during this year’s ceremony is former Arizona Senator John McCain,” said Staff Sgt. Tyler Kliss, this year’s POW/MIA Ceremony organizer. “Senator McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for more than five years.”

Col. Chad Ellsworth, the installation commander, will provide remarks during the ceremony.

Following events at the base memorial, the Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 161 will host recognition events throughout the day at the Hanscom track.

“Base personnel are invited to participate in a 12-hour vigil to honor those held prisoner or missing in action during our nation’s conflicts,” said Kliss. “Teams will keep the American Flag and the POW/MIA Flag moving around the track continuously for 12 hours.”

Kliss added that, at the top of each hour, the names of prisoners of war or those believed still missing in action will be read aloud.

At 2 p.m., base agencies, professional and private organizations will host games and information booths for members of Team Hanscom and their families.

Chief Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, the installation command chief, will speak at a closing ceremony at 8:45 p.m. at the POW/MIA Memorial.

“After the 12-hour vigil, base personnel will participate in a candlelight processional back to the POW/MIA Memorial site for the closing ceremony,” Kliss said.

For further information about any of the events planned at Hanscom, contact Kliss at 781-225-5625.