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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Service to remember missing servicemen, POWs held at park

  • A simple and moving service conducted by leaders in the Disabled American Veterans organization Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park paid honor to those who were prisoners of war or who are still missing in action.
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  • A simple and moving service conducted by leaders in the Disabled American Veterans organization Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park paid honor to those who were prisoners of war or who are still missing in action.
    "Yesterday was National POW-MIA Day," said Paul Schuler, who directed the service. "That's why we're having this ceremony today."
    Schuler was assisted by Morgen Lierd, retired command sergeant major with 27 1/2 years of service, recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart; Ray Kidd, retired first sergeant with 25 years of service, recipient of the Bronze Star, and Hector Mitchell, retired first sergeant with 30 years experience, recipient of the Purple Heart.
    Schuler, a retired first sergeant with 24 1/2 years experience is recipient of the Legion of Merit. he is the POW-MIA commander of the state department of Missouri for the Disabled American Veterans.
    All three are members of DAV Chapter No. 49, Waynesville, and all are Vietnam veterans.
    The service opened with the playing of the national anthem, followed by the reciting of the pledge of allegiance.
    Schuler then read an essay, while standing before a table setting. The essay explained the symbols on the table.
    After the playing of taps, the service was over.
    The POW-MIA honoring was held in conjunction with a cruise-in jointly conducted by the Cave State Cruisers and the Rolla Cruise-In Committee.
    Rolla Road Riders Motorcycle Club served food.
    The event was hosted by the South Central Regional Veterans Group.
    Among the dignitaries attending the event were:
    • Richard Polk, DAV senior vice commander for the state department of Missouri
    • Robert Hawn, representing American Legion Post No. 607;
    • David Lexa, Missouri Veterans Home Assistance League president.
    Reading from the POW-MIA ceremony:
    Those who have served and those currently serving the uniformed services of the United States are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured and may still be enduring the agonies of pain, deprivation and internment. Before we begin out activities this evening, we will pause to recognize out POW's and MIA's.
    We call you attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor near the head table. It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces are missing from out ranks. They are referred to as POW's and MIA's.
    We call them comrades.
    They are unable to be with their loved ones and families tonight, so we join together to pay our humble tribute to them, and bear witness to their continued absence.
    Page 2 of 2 - This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
    The tablecloth is white, symbolizing of the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms.
    The single red rose in the vase, signifies the blood they many have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep the faith, while awaiting their return.
    The red ribbon on the vase represents thousands who demand with unyielding determination a proper accounting of our comrades who are not among us tonight.
    A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate.
    The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait.
    The glass is inverted – they cannot toast with us this night.
    The chair is empty – they are not here.
    The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the arms of a grateful nation.
    Let us pray to the supreme commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.
    Let us remember and never forget their sacrifices.
    May God forever watch over them and protect them and their families.
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