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Fourth annual POW/MIA ride to be held

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The 2012 Missouri MIA/POW Awareness Run, sponsored by Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #1, is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23 at Cassville's Irwin Easley American Legion Post 118, located on Highway 112 South, in Cassville.

The commemorative ride honoring all Missouri MIA and POW military personnel will stage at the Phantom Jet at Monett's South Park at 11:30 a.m. and leave at 12:30 p.m. for the ride to Cassville.

Timberline Bluegrass Band will provide entertainment. The Junior ROTC Color Guard, from the Scott Regional Technical Center, formerly the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett, will assist in officiating at the ceremony.

This year's event is in honor of Bowe Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho. He was captured by the Taliban on June 30, 2009, and has been held at an unknown location in either Afghanistan or in the Pakistani Province.

The Taliban has released several videos of Bergdahl, the last in May, 2011. The video showed evidence that Bergdahl may have been beaten before the video was filmed.

Guest speakers for this year's event include: Col. Michele Hovland, director of Intelligence and Communication for the Missouri National Guard; and Dr. Scott McGill, founder and chief executive officer of Veterans in Defense of Liberty (VIDOL).

The names of 38 Vietnam veterans still missing in action or unaccounted will be read, followed by a moment of silence for reflection and remembrance.

Rolling Thunder has 90 chartered chapters in the United States with over 950,000 participants.

"There are still POWs and MIAs being held in foreign countries," said John Williams, Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #1 president. "There are still military personnel, men and women, unaccounted for from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam conflict, the Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We won't stop until they are all accounted for," Williams said.

The volunteer organization also supports Rolling Thunder Charities, a not-for-profit organization that supports veterans and active military personnel and their families who are in need. The organizations provide financial support, food, clothing and essentials to veterans, homeless veterans, families in need and women's crisis centers.

"Rolling Thunder also sponsors search missions into southeast Asia for POWs and MIAs and the remains of those killed in action," Williams said. "We will not forget."

For information on the ceremony, call Williams at 417-849-8964. For more information on the ride, call 417-213-1590.

For more information on Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #1, visit www.rollingthunder1.com.



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