POWs And MIAs Honored At Keesler Air Force Base - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/30/03

POWs And MIAs Honored At Keesler Air Force Base

They are heroes gone, but not forgotten. Tuesday was "Prisoner of War-Missing In Action Day". Those serving at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi paid tribute to the troops captured or who remain unaccounted for after going into battle.

Freedom means a lot to James Caire because he knows what it's like to lose it. During World War II, he was taken prisoner in Asia.

"I remember most everything I went through," said Caire. "It still hasn't affected my mind. Some of the POWs, it affected their minds, which, I am sorry for them."

Part of the message at the ceremony was that it's not just POWs and MIAs who suffer. After Caire's capture, his wife Anna waited for news of his fate. Her wait lasted nearly four years.

"It was bad," said Anna Caire. "You didn't know from one day to the next whether he was alive or dead because we didn't get any information through Japan. When the war ended and I got a message that he was alive, that was great."

The service focused on remembering. The audience, made mostly of airmen, was remembering the POWs and MIAs from wars past and remembering the possibility of more captured servicemen still exists.

"Particularly as one that has been deployed, and even now I have friends that are now deployed and always in harm's way. Just to know that somebody I know may not come back. It has a lot of meaning to me," Chaplain Kenneth Jenkins said.

The military says there have been 389,160 American POWs since the first World War.

by Danielle Thomas

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