SOMERS, N.Y. – Once again, National POW/MIA Recognition Day was commemorated in Somers with a candlelight service Friday at Ivandell Cemetery, honoring those who have never returned from distant wars.
Members of Somers’ Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8213 stood in silence as Councilman Tom Garrity made a brief speech. Also on hand for the ceremony were Somers Boy Scouts, state Assemblyman Stephen Katz, other town officials, community members and visitors from nearby areas where the occasion is not observed.
“Right now, there is one soldier who’s been missing in Afghanistan since 2009,” said Post member Harry Bolton. “There are still 766 POWs missing from the Vietnamese War and 1,719 MIAs.
“There are 20,000 to 30,000 people missing still from World War II. We think they were taken by the Russians and ended up in the penal system.”
Bolton, a veteran of the Vietnam War era, comes from a large family of military servicemen and women. “I know what it’s like to have someone missing somewhere,” he said. “We do this to call the public’s attention to the fact that we still have people missing. It’s one thing to have a POW and another to have an MIA, but really, it’s the same thing.”
“As long as members of our Armed Forces remain unaccounted for, America will bring our fullest resources to bear in finding them and bringing them home,” said President Barack Obama in a press release. “It is a promise we make not only to the families of our captured and missing but to all who have worn the uniform.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Harry Bolton is a veteran of the Vietnam War. This is incorrect. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War era.