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Penn State To Host Annual POW/MIA Remembrance Ceremony September 17

Penn State will host its annual 24-hour Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Remembrance Ceremony at 4 p.m. on Friday, September 17, at Old Main Lawn.

Hosted by Penn State’s chapter of the Arnold Air Society, the vigil is a tradition that began 35 years ago to honor servicemen and women who did not return home or were taken prisoner.

The vigil falls on National POW/MIA Recognition Day and is free and open to the public. A special invite is extended to military veterans and families of service members.

“The vigil serves as a way for us to remember, collectively, that there are service members who still have not returned home,” said Eugene McFeely, Penn State’s senior director for veterans affairs and services and chair of Penn State’s Military Appreciation Committee. “The vigil reminds us all that each day, and every day, we must do all that we can to account for our missing service members and show that, until they return, they are not forgotten.” 

During the vigil, the American flag will be lowered to half-staff while the POW/MIA flag is raised to half-staff. The missing man table will be protected for 24 hours by Honor Guards, and ROTC cadets until the vigil’s end on Saturday, September 18.

Approximately 150 to 200 cadets and midshipmen from Penn State’s ROTC programs will be in attendance. The vigil will feature a 21-gun salute, taps, a missing man ceremony, speakers, and performances by AFROTC’s acapella group, the Wild Blue Yonders.

In the event of bad weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Freeman Auditorium in the HUB.

Across campus, Penn State honored prisoners of war and service members missing in action by dedicating a seat in Beaver Stadium. The Chair of Honor will remain empty permanently to serve as a reminder for those who never made it home.

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About the Author

Anna Wiggins

Anna is a sophomore from Washington D.C., but if you're from the DMV she's actually from Alexandria, VA. She likes 80's and 90's rock, was born in a pink hospital in Honolulu, and is double-jointed in her arms, legs, and shoulder blades. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @annae.wgn, or, if you wish to yell at her, you can do so at [email protected]


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