Veterans call attention to prisoners of war and MIAs at vigil in downtown Texarkana
TEXARKANA, Texas – Since its inception in 1988, the annual POW-MIA vigil has drawn at least 50 local veterans to its downtown Korea-Vietnam Memorial site, but this year the event offered an extra layer of sense.
Greg Beck, president of Texarkana Chapter 278 Vietnam Veterans of America, said government efforts to find and recover U.S. military service men and women who were, and still are, classified as prisoners of war or missing, are progressing .
“At the time this vigil began, there were still 2,555 men and women listed as prisoners of war or MIA. Now that number has dropped to 1,585. He said. “I want to encourage everyone here today to ask the government to increase funding to continue this effort, rather than decrease funding.”
In light of the recent withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Beck said that in addition to efforts to recover POWs and MIAs, attention must now be focused on servicemen whose lives have been abandoned by the federal government, “our military who went to Afghanistan, defended and protected our country for 20 years.
“They fought the terrorists and they did their job very well, but now our current government has just decided to bring us back to where we were before,” he said. “I want to thank all of those veterans who served in Afghanistan, as well as everywhere else. I know that our government that wants to lose Afghanistan hurts because we lost almost 3,000 people there.
Beck, a Vietnam veteran, said he knew what it was like to be abandoned by the government.
“After Vietnam, there were no parades for the veterans,” he said. “All we had was each other, but things finally changed.”
In addition to possibly letting terrorists take over Afghanistan, Beck said some government efforts to help veterans are not exactly what they appear to be.
“There is a plan to increase veterans benefits by 6%,” Beck said. “But at the same time, the plan also calls for increasing taxable income. Each of us must stand up and call Washington.”
After his presentation, Beck asked if there were any Afghan or Iraqi veterans in the rally. Texarkana, Arkansas, US Army resident and Sgt “Cowboy” Sherk has come forward. Beck presented him with two ribbons recognizing his service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I was one of those who saw Kabual (Afghan capital) fall twice,” Sherk said. “The first time was in 2001, when we first got there (captured by the US). The second time I was here, I was watching it on TV not long ago. of time. “
The vigil ended on Saturday evening with a candlelight ceremony at the memorial.