Today, Friday, September 20, 2013 marks the commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, where the nation honors those service members who endured captivity and whose remains have yet to be recovered. The day serves as a stark reminder of the risks and sacrifices that American service members and their families make every day.
As President Obama said in his proclamation marking National POW/MIA Recognition Day, “America remains steadfast in our determination to recover our missing patriots. Our work is not finished until our heroes are returned safely to our shores or a full accounting is provided to their loved ones.” As the POW/MIA flag flies over the White House today, it is a reminder that this administration will never forget its commitment to care for our service members and their families.
The Obama Administration is engaged in a sustained effort to achieve the fullest possible accounting of missing service members by locating, recovering, and repatriating their remains. We are determined to fulfill the nation’s duty to its veterans and bring closure to the families of these brave service members. The overwhelming majority of missing in action are veterans of the wars in Vietnam and Korea, and the Second World War. Over 80,000 Americans remain missing and on this day we honor their brave service - they will never be forgotten.
One recent step the Obama Administration has taken to sustain our effort to achieve the fullest possible accounting of missing service members is to reinvigorate our side of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs with a charter. For over twenty years, this commission’s important work has contributed to the recovery and identification of the remains of fallen U.S. service members.
A relatively small number of people—service members, their families, and civilians—now volunteer to shoulder the burden of serving in the armed forces. It is therefore imperative that the nation strives to acknowledge that service and sacrifice; that we pay our respects to the fallen, and that we meet our sacred responsibility to care for the wounded.
The Obama Administration is committed to providing military families with the benefits and opportunities they've earned. Though less than one percent of the nation serves in the military, 100 percent can help. To see how you can best support those who serve, please visit joiningforces.gov.
Tanya Bradsher is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. She serves as the lead for Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Military Family Outreach.