Stephanie Kirk said she only needed to look at the message on the POW/MIA flag to draw inspiration.
“You are not forgotten.”
Kirk, who served in the Army in Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Falcon in 1993 just after Desert Storm, will speak Friday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Alford-Clarke Post 852’s annual ceremony to honor prisoners of war and those still missing in action.
“I think we owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to those people who are POWs and those who have been declared missing in action,” said Kirk, a Lawrence resident originally from Springfield, Mo. “We owe them so much more as veterans or Americans in general for the sacrifice they’ve made for us in the name of freedom.”
Kirk is a current Kansas University School of Education graduate student. She will speak at a 5:30 p.m. ceremony at the post, 138 Ala.
It’s part of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is every year on the third Friday in September.
Jerry Karr, a Vietnam veteran and the VFW post commander, said the day is meant to honor the 88,000 Americans listed as missing or unaccounted for in the nation’s wars going back to the start of World War II.
“Basically once a year we try to make the public aware of the sacrifices and just to renew the dedication to the issue of obtaining a full accounting of American servicemen and women who are prisoners of war or missing in foreign lands,” Karr said.
The day is also meant to advocate Congress to allocate funds to continue to search for the remains of those missing, he said.
The Lawrence ceremony is open to the public.