FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8845 in Fort Smith hosted a ceremony in honor of those lost and those who were lost and have returned.
The ceremony began with a table reading. The post commander described what each item on the ceremonial table symbolized. The lemon represents the bitterness of their fate, the salt represents the tears shed by family members, the white cloth represents purity, a red rose for family and friends of those lost and an upside-down glass.
Frank Hurst was in attendance at Friday’s ceremony. He served for 20 years. He was in Berlin, Germany from 1964-1969 when the wall was built and worked in Northern Germany in 1989 when the wall came down.
Hurst couldn’t imagine being a family member of a prisoner of war or someone missing in action.
“You’re worried about what’s going on, what they’re doing, how they’re being treated, especially if they’re a prisoner,” Hurst said.
Hurst said when he lived in California, his VFW post would travel around educating schools on what POW/MIA Recognition Day means.
“They didn’t know, and I think it was eye-opening to them. It really made us feel good to go around and do that,” Hurst said.
Post Commander, Leroy Farmer, hopes the POWs and MIAs are eventually accounted for.
“We want to either be able to bring back their remains to give them a final resting place or to be able to repatriate them so they can come back to their home,” Farmer said.