Ceremony remembers MIA/POW
Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #1 held a special ceremony at the American Legion Pavilion on Highway 112 in Cassville on Sunday. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the 2012 Missouri MIA/POW Awareness Run, which honors all Missouri military personnel listed as missing in action or prisoners of war.
John Williams, Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #1 president, opened the ceremony by inviting Darrell Hovland to lead those in attendance in reciting the pledge of allegiance. Paul Fiscus gave the invocation.
Williams then read the Rolling Thunder mission statement, which says the organization's "major function is to publicize the POW/MIA issue; to educate the public of the fact that many American prisoners of war were left behind after all past wars; to help correct the past and to protect the future veterans from being left behind should they become prisoners of war or missing in action."
The group, which is a non-profit organization operated by volunteers, is "committed to helping American veterans from all wars."
"That leads me to a man, Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured on June 30, 2009," said Williams. "Now Bowe Bergdahl's parents travel the country. They have spoken at the White House, and they spoke at our national organization conference.
"I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to have a son, daughter, sister or brother captured," said Williams. "You would feel helpless, and there would be no closure. That's why we do what we can to keep Bowe Bergdahl and others alive in the hearts and minds of the people around the United States."
Williams invited those in attendance to obtain a free button with Bergdahl's photo on it. He also asked those at the ceremony to pray for Bergdahl and the Bergdahl family.
"He needs our prayers," said Williams. "That is why we have dedicated this ceremony and our ride to him today."
Speakers for the event included Dr. Scott McGill, founder and chief executive officer of Veterans in Defense of Liberty (VIDOL) and Col. Michele Hovland, retired director of Intelligence and Communication for the Missouri National Guard.
Timberline provided musical entertainment prior to the ceremony. Curtis Ray sang the "Star Spangled Banner," and John Walters performed "Arlington." Gene Dove sang "I Wonder If They Ever Think Of Me" and then read the names of 38 Missouri veterans still missing in action or unaccounted for, including Rocky Edmondson, of Cassville, and Thomas Wolf, of Monett.
The Junior ROTC Color Guard, from the Scott Regional Technical Center, formerly the Southwest Area Career Center in Monett, also took part in the ceremony.
For more information on Rolling Thunder, visit rollingthunder1.com.