Lakeside VFW remembers POW and MIA service members

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By Steven Williams

Dozens of veterans, family members and area Council for Youth Empowerment pageant queens packed into Carter-Smith Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5867 in Lakeside Friday to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action in their annual POW/MIA Day Ceremony. 

The event featured a Missing Man Table Ceremony in the Post social quarters and a candlelight vigil around the Post’s memorial flagpole.

By Steven Williams

Dozens of veterans, family members and area Council for Youth Empowerment pageant queens packed into Carter-Smith Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5867 in Lakeside Friday to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action in their annual POW/MIA Day Ceremony. 

The event featured a Missing Man Table Ceremony in the Post social quarters and a candlelight vigil around the Post’s memorial flagpole.

Post 5867 Auxiliary Senior Vice President Diana Kulhanek coordinates the solemn service each year in an effort to ensure veterans, families and the community remember that the search for POWs and MIAs will not end until every last American military member is brought home. The Post remains passionate about this mission flying the POW/MIA flag and hosting a Missing Man Table 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The table is common for military ceremonies as they include military members still missing in important events throughout the year, but Post 5867 not only includes them in all important ceremonies, but every single day as they enjoy each other’s camaraderie and meals. 

The candlelight vigil was also special for the Post. Kulhanek led a project at Chula Vista High School where students created small paper placards with the images and short bios of the 22 San Diego County service members who were POWs in the Vietnam War and attached them to paper bags which each held a single candle. As these memorial candles surrounded the Post memorial with a warm glow, ceremony attendees surrounded them with candles of their own to pray and honor their sacrifices.

While this event only happens one time a year on a day designated by the U.S. President, Post 5867 honors those who were prisoners of war and those missing in action every single day with symbols of recognition, custom apparel, and prayers during all official events. They will not rest until they all have come home.

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