JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Local veterans, active duty soldiers and members of the community gathered at The State of Kansas Vietnam Memorial Friday to pay tribute to those who fought for our freedom and lost theirs in the process.
A ceremony was held at Heritage Park in Junction City Friday night to commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Retired Fort Riley Command Sergeant Major Jim Champagne was the keynote speaker at the event and told the crowd that the observance is a reminder that our freedom comes with a price.
“We gather today to honor all our former prisoners of war, the service members and civilians who remain unaccounted for and their families. Today is a time to remember- to remember the faces of the prisoners of war, to remember the names of those missing in action and to remember and reaffirm the pledge that our nation’s leaders made to account for every service member that did not come home… Today we honor our nation’s heroes that knew the hostility of war and the anguish of captivity,” he said.
“Freedom is not free. Freedom comes with a price. Today, we remember the POWs and MIAs who fought to protect our freedom and lost theirs. At the same time, we pray for those who continue to serve and protect those freedoms,” Champagne added.
A ceremony also included a demonstration of the proper setting of the Missing Man Table, a symbolic gesture to show that our country has not forgotten POWs and MIAs. Those in attendance also released balloons in into the air as a tribute.