Organizers say events such as the one set for Saturday help accelerate the return of prisoners of war.
BROOKSVILLE - The Hernando County POW/MIA Committee on Saturday will host its fifth annual Recognition Day for prisoners of war and those missing in action.
Organizers say it is events such as this that help hasten the return of prisoners, including Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch after her capture in March in Iraq.
"I honestly believe that it's through the efforts of small groups like this that we no longer let the situation (with prisoners of war) get out of hand like in Vietnam," said Dominic Servello, committee chairman. "We need to account for our people."
A former military paratrooper, Servello said attendance for the Recognition Day has dropped during the past five years, but he thinks the nation's current situation should bring people back out this year to support U.S. troops.
"I have young children in school, and there's nothing mentioned in their history books about the soldiers that are missing or imprisoned," Servello said. "This is not just military history, but American history. We do dishonor to those who returned if we just let the memory of those who didn't slip away."
Opening ceremonies will begin at noon Saturday at the Hernando County Airport, off U.S. 41 south of Brooksville. Entertainment will include World War II re-enactors and performances by local musical acts. Other highlights will include a tactical demonstration by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office SWAT team and the sheriff's canine unit.
The day will conclude with a candlelight vigil at dusk.
Admission is free, and refreshments will be available. Lawn chairs and umbrellas are recommended.
For information, call 442-7962.
- Joy Davis-Platt can be reached at 848-1435. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org