DPAA hosts National POW/MIA Recognition Day

September 17, 2021 - Story by Staff Sgt. Jonathan McElderry 

HONOLULU -- The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) hosted a National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on Sept. 17, 2021.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which began in 1986, is a time to remember and honor U.S. service members who remain missing in action or were prisoners of war. The annual holiday is commemorated on the third Friday of September throughout the U.S. and around the world.

In remembrance, members of DPAA conducted a bell ringing ceremony, a rifle salute, wreath presentation and the reading of the names of the 151 U.S. service members who have been identified and returned home since last year’s observance.

The ceremony also featured Natalie Rauch, daughter of U.S. Air Force Col. Warren L. Anderson, who is among the more than 1,500 unaccounted-for service members still missing from the Vietnam War. Rauch, who was invited to be the guest speaker, expressed what the day means to her and the impact the POW/MIA Americans have had.

“Their courage and dedication to country and humanity is an example to all of our younger generations,” said Rauch. “I hope my dad would be proud of me and the life I’ve lived. I’m over here trying my best to live life to the fullest, but deep inside I’m still that eight year old little girl waiting for her daddy to come home.”

There are still more than 81,000 U.S. service members missing from World War II, the Vietnam War, Korean War, Cold War, and other past conflicts. While more service members are identified annually, ongoing efforts are still being made by the agency to provide the fullest possible accounting of the soldiers, sailors, Marines and Airmen still missing from past conflicts.

Rauch said that every day is a reminder that they are not forgotten.