They Gave Their Lives Overseas, And This Veteran Is Committed To Bringing Them Back

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This coming weekend we will, once again, celebrate Memorial Day. This is one of the most honored of our national holidays as its purpose is to keep alive the memories of those who have died defending this country, all those men and women who sacrificed their all on countless battlefields around the world, throughout our history.

They gave their last full measure to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and all the freedoms and protections it offers to every citizen.

One of the most emotionally wrenching realities that we must never forget is that, as of this moment, some 82,000 of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen remain on our Missing In Action records.

Source: YouTube/The U.S. Army
Army Vietnam veteran, Johnie Webb.

The Defense Department’s POW/MIA Accounting Agency has been engaged in the difficult and often challenging effort to recover and to identify the remains of our MIAs. One of the people who has given his time and talent to this organization for some 40 years now is Army Vietnam veteran, Johnie Webb.

This short video will introduce you to him and to his commitment to our MIA brothers and sisters.

Source: YouTube/The U.S. Army
Webb holds the bracelet of a fallen comrade.

The Veterans Site has reported on the return of many of those that the POW/MIA Accounting Agency has been successful in finding and identifying over the years. One of those who was on the MIA rolls for over 40 years was my brother-in-law’s first cousin, Larry James Hanley. He was an Air Force pilot who had been shot down over Laos in 1969. I wrote about his return a couple of years ago.

These events are always charged with contrasting emotions. There is the sadness of unaccounted for loss, countered by relief, even the joy. These families, whose memories of their lost family members seemed, for so long, to have been lost in the limbo of that illusive term “Missing In Action,” finally have them home.

To describe how they feel is all is often beyond words.

Source: YouTube/The U.S. Army
A specialist examines the boots of a soldier long departed.

What the POW/MIA Accounting Agency and volunteers like Johnie Webb are doing for the families of these MIAs is profoundly important. It is profoundly important for the nation as well. Each time one of these fallen heroes is finally found, identified and returned home to American soil, to be buried in the familiar ground of their hometowns, helps us to write the final chapters of their stories.

Now, the families who had anguished over their missing sons, husbands, and brothers for so many years, even decades, can visit them whenever they wish, and they can take the younger generations to visit them on special occasions and tell the stories of who they were and how much they were loved and missed, and what they did for their country.

This is noble work.

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The Veterans Site wishes to thank the POW/MIA Accounting Agency and people like Johnie Webb for their dedication to this effort of recovering our MIAs. We know that it is difficult work, but we encourage them to keep it up.

There is nothing more important than bringing them home to their families and to the nation.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.
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