National POW/ MIA Recognition Day is observed every year on the 3rd Friday in September. This special day is an observance to honor our brave, taken as prisoners of war (POW), or reported missing in action (MIA), and their families. This day is marked every year to honor them, ensuring our more than 80,000 unaccounted for service members are not forgotten, and reminding our nation we are committed to accounting for our missing heroes of every generation.
In 2020, we are honoring this special day this Friday, September 18th, in Iowa and across the nation.
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Des Moines Chapter 20, along with the VA Hospital, has jointly commemorated this day for the last 15 years. As in past years, last year’s formal ceremony was held in the Auditorium at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System (VACIHCS – Des Moines VA Hospital), with Iowa’s former POW/ MIA’s and family members present, including “special guests”, followed by a luncheon.
Respecting the health and well-being of our POW/MIAs and the public at large is always our utmost priority. COVID-19 poses a specific threat to many of our surviving POW/MIA honorees in particular. So, respecting everyone’s health and safety, following state, VA and CDC guidelines and recommendations, we collaboratively decided to take a non-traditional approach this year which still honors the POW/MIA motto “You Are Not Forgotten,” in addition to this year’s national theme: “Relentless Pursuit, A Determined Nation”.
In lieu of our formal ceremony, we have contacted Iowa’s former POW/ MIA’s and their families and arranged a series of personal visits to their residence where possible. During that visit we will present the Governor’s signed POW/ MIA Proclamation, and a gift basket dedicated to each survivor and their family for this special day. We have made alternative, individual accommodations to deliver the proclamation and gift baskets to survivors and families who couldn’t make in-person arrangements.
Disabled American Veterans, Des Moines Chapter 20 & Des Moines VACIHS