HUNTINGTON, W.Va (WOWK) — “Never Forgotten” was the message during Friday’s Former POW and MIA Recognition Day Ceremony at the Herschel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center.
It’s important to never forget the sacrifices and pain men and women in uniform endured as they were held prisoner, or those who remain missing from past conflicts.
Among those honored during this POW and MIA Recognition Day Ceremony was Ironton native and 82nd Airborne Army World War II veteran Lawrence Rudmann.
“I [was] proud to be there, but it’s not a glamorous thing,” said Rudmann. “I just wanted to survive, I guess,” he said smiling.
Dr. Jason Flick works with veterans, and says it takes a special kind of person to endure what men and women like Rudmann have.
“[It takes] the ability to lose hope and then regain it, the ability to lose faith and then regain it, the ability to look to the future that seems hopeless, and to overcome that, and what it takes in the human spirit to be able to make that possible,” said Dr. Flick.
An empty table was also set for those missing-in-action. The missing man table features a hat for each branch of the military, including a green hat, which represents civilians like civilian contractors that have gone missing from their war time efforts.
And with 82, 000 soldiers still unaccounted for, Dr. Flick hopes people recognize and remember them. “Know the stories before they’re gone. Learn about them,” he said.
Flick hopes the younger generation can appreciate their commitment by learning about stories like Rudmann’s.
“Remember the hardships we all went through,” said Rudmann. “[The] most important thing, I think, is don’t glamorize war, because it is hell.”