Monett area veterans took time to honor and remember the men and women military heroes who were prisoners of war, those still missing in action and their families during a POW/MIA ceremony on Friday, Sept. 18.
The ceremony, held next to the F-4 Phantom jet at the Monett South Park, began with the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem and an opening prayer by Post Chaplain Albert Painter.
Located by the F-4 Phantom jet is a monument that reads "In Grateful Memory of Our Armed Forces Veterans Who Honored Thier Nation With Their Services and Sacrifices."
As part of the ceremony, officers from the Tom Wolfe Memorial Post #4207 and its Ladies Auxiliary placed symbolic tributes by the monument.
Placed at the base of the monument was a red flower representing courage and the willingness to sacrifice, a white flower as a reminder of the unselfish devotion to duty and a blue flower symbolizing the great love servicemen and women have for the flag and country.
A laurel wreath was also placed at the base of the monument to symbolize victory over death for those who have made the supreme sacrifice and in honor of missing soldiers.
A small round table was placed beside the monument in remembrance of everlasting concern for those still missing. A white tablecloth was placed over the table to symbolize the purity of the motives of those who answer the call to duty.
A vase with a single red rose was placed on the table as a reminder of the lives of the missing and their loved ones who keep the faith and are still waiting for answers. A red ribbon, which was tied around the vase, showed continued determination to account for the missing.
A lemon slice was placed on a small plate on the table as a reminder of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. Also placed on the plate was a pinch of salt to recall the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
A Bible was then placed on the table to represent the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, which was founded as "One Nation Under God."
An inverted glasss was placed on the table to symbolize the inability of the prisoners of war and those still missing in action to share in the days toast.
Beside the table, an empty folded chair was placed in remembrance of those not present.
A 21-gun salute was followed by a closing prayer. Black balloons were then released to the sky while a moment of silence was observed.
After the Color Guard retired the colors, attendees joined in singing God Bless America.
Auxiliary Chaplain Karyn Coatney concluded the ceremony with a prayer. "We pray for those missing comrades who have been called to Thy bosom that whatever justice they have been denied in this life has been granted them a hundredfold. Amen."
The event was hosted by the Tom Wolfe Memorial Post #4207 VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary.
Additional organizations that participated in the ceremony included; Disabled American Veterans-Barry-Lawrence #64; the Hobbs-Anderson American Legion Post #91; and Rolling Thunder Missouri Chapter #3. Jason George presided over the ceremony.
Veterans from the Missouri Veterans Home in Mt. Vernon were also present for the ceremony.