Veterans from various wars filled the room for a night of honor and remembrance, provided by the Canton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5262 and Canton Moose Family Center Lodge 2129.
Steve Vorce, a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1980 to 1990, was the banquet’s Officer for the Day, and started the night’s program by explaining the sacrifices that veterans make.
“Every year at this time, we pause to honor those missing from our ranks. It is estimated that more than 83,000 American service members are missing in action or unaccounted for since World War II,” Vorce said. “This total includes 73,681 from World War II, 7,939 from Korea, 1,655 from Vietnam, 146 from the Cold War and six from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should not rest until we achieve the fullest possible accounting of all missing American military members from all wars.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars member Lee Winn directed the POW and MIA Ceremony in remembrance of those who have gone missing, are unaccounted for or were taken as prisoners of war in conflicts.
A small table, set for one, sat in front of the lectern where Wind spoke, to symbolize the many members of the armed forces who are “missing from our midst.”
“They are commonly called POWs or MIAs; we call them brothers. They are unable to be with us this evening and so we remember them. This table, set for one, is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone, against his aggressors, remember this,” Winn said.
As Winn explained each symbol on the table and said “remember this,” representing different aspects of the sacrifices of veterans and their loved ones, a bell rang out.
“A single red rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of the comrades in arms, who keep the faith awaiting their return, remember this,” Winn said. “The red ribbon, tied so prominently on the vase, is reminiscent of the red ribbon worn upon the lapel and breast of thousands who bear witness to their unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our mission, remember.”
Four Cherokee High School Junior ROTC cadets performed a flag ceremony, and eight high school students gave speeches about how the principles of democracy affect their lives.
The students, from various high schools and homeschool, gave speeches as part of the VFW Voice of Democracy competition. The competition promotes the patriotism of youth, and students from Sequoyah, River Ridge, Woodstock, and Marietta high schools, as well as one homeschool student, participated in the essay contest.
Free flags were given to veterans to commemorate their service, and a barbecue dinner was provided for guests.