CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
American POWs honored Tuesday
“The final battles were over;
we could now fight no more,
Our freedom was forfeit,
we were prisoners of war…”
Lloyd V. Willey
Tuesday has been set aside as National Recognition Day for American POWs, said Harold Stalnaker, vice commander of the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of American Prisoners of War, based in Tupelo.
Though there will be no special ceremony set aside to honor former POWs, Stalnaker urged all Mississippi residents to reflect on the pain and hardships endured by POWs captured while fighting for the United States.
Stalnaker said the daisy was chosen as the national symbol of remembrance for all POWs because, as American folklore has it, “Daisies never tell.”
The Military Code of Conduct prohibited a soldier from voluntarily telling the enemy more than his name, rank and serial number, Stalnaker said.
Stalnaker, a World War II veteran who was imprisoned in Germany’s famous Stalag 17 B, said the hardships suffered by American POWs ranged in duration from a few weeks to up to seven years in the case of some Vietnam veterans.
“We just ask that people think about POWs and all they gave up to keep this a free land,” he said.