The Rockford Chapter of VietNow will hold a POW/MIA Candlelight Ceremony at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15, at the Loves Park Field of Honor.
Featured speaker will be Sam Cretaro, from Pekin, Ill., the president of the Heart of Illinois POW/MIA Association.
The Field of Honor Candlelight Ceremony keeps the flame of hope and solidarity lit as we offer patriotic music, lighting and placing of candles, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps. Fellowship and refreshments will follow the ceremony.
The Field of Honor is accessed from Riverside Boulevard by either Heart Boulevard or Walker Avenue at 1300 Riverside Blvd. Additional parking is available adjacent to the Memorial on Walker Avenue or the Loves Park City Hall parking lot.
As of July 2005, there were 1,825 still missing in Vietnam, but there have been some recoveries since then. The exact number is not known.
As late as the 1990s, there were reports of live sightings, but the U.S. government has routinely discredited them.
VietNow has financed and supported discovery and investigative efforts. Their investigators entry into forbidden zones resulted in imprisonment in Vietnam and some pretty rough treatment for a significant time for one investigator (Lamont Gaston), of which I am aware, said Bruce Jacobsen, member of the Board of Directors of the Rockford Chapter.
In a more recent time frame, during Gulf War I, pilot Scott Speicher was shot down, and there has never been a recovery or adequate accounting for him.
In the current Operation Iraqi Freedom, Specialist Keith M. Maupin is still missing since June 29, 2004.
Dignitaries and officials are asked to please register at the event before it begins so that you and your organization may be acknowledged.
From the Sept. 13-19, 2006, issue