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National POW/MIA Recognition Day

This Friday, Sept. 17 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The nation sets aside the third Friday in September to remember our former POWs and our MIAs. There are an estimated 87,514 POW/MIAs: 4,400 from WWI; 73,515 from WWII; 7,841 from Korean War; 1,626 from Vietnam War; 126 from Cold War; and 6 from 1991 to present. More than 41,000 have been presumed lost at sea. The traditional POW/MIA flag that’s well known across America was actually created many years before the remembrance day became official. In 1971, a woman named Mary Hoff contacted a flag company near her home to see if a flag reminder of POWs and MIA could be made. She was one of many waiting to see if her husband, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Hoff, would ever return home after his plane had been shot down over Laos. WWII pilot Newt Heisley designed the now famous flag. And the rest is history.

VFW-Supported GXOT Memorial Bill

Six former Defense Department secretaries who served during the past 20 years of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) have written an op-ed calling for a national memorial to honor the service members of America’s longest-running war. VFW-supported H.R. 1115, the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, which has been stalled in Congress, would allow a GWOT Memorial to be constructed in a currently restricted area of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The VFW believes this memorial is now due and belongs with the existing war memorials for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

Substance Use Disorder and Suicide

VHA-enrolled veterans diagnosed with substance use disorders (SUD) had higher rates of suicide than those with depression or PTSD, according to the 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report. Spreading awareness and reducing the stigma related to SUD is important in addressing and eliminating veteran suicide. Resources are available for anyone who needs help and can be instrumental in preventing someone from reaching the crisis point. VA’s SUD Program offers specific treatment programs in many states. However, VA is dedicated to providing access for all veterans and areas without the program. For any veteran in crisis, you are not alone. The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone (1.800.273.8255, press 1), text (838255), or online chat by visiting VeteransCrisisLine.net.

POW/MIA Update

Navy Seaman 1st Class Joe R. Nightingale, 20, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on Dec. 7, 2021, in Augusta, Michigan.

Navy Seaman 1st Class Wesley E. Graham, 21, of Watervliet, Michigan, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. He will be buried on Oct. 27, 2021, in Augusta, Michigan.

Till next week, praying for all service members.


– Charles Castelluccio

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