VFW honors POWs and MIAs

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By Mark Scohier, Staff writer

In the Jim Sensbach Memorial Hall of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5625 stands a single round table. It’s a symbol of unending concern on the part of mothers who couldn’t sleep at night and fathers who had to act strong when they sent their children to war.

It’s draped with a white tablecloth to remind Americans of the purity of the soldier’s intent.

Empty chairs await the soldiers’ return, and slices of lemon on plates hint at the bitterness suffered by those gone missing or taken prisoner.

Inverted glasses hope to share in a homecoming toast.  A single red rose stands for the blood that was shed, and a pinch of salt whispers of tears that were no doubt shed in equal amounts.

A white candle stands for the light of hope shared by thousands of friends and families.

On Sept. 18, members of Chiefland’s VFW Post 5625 gathered to honor and pay recognition to the men and women that have gone missing or been taken prisoner while fighting to defend their country.

Nine members stood in front of the POW/MIA memorial display and read about POWs and MIAs from all of America’s foreign wars.  They talked about their courage and their sacrifice.  And they talked about how important it is that Americans never forget about these people.

Deanna Bazar, wife of VFW Commander Jerry Bazar, was one of the speakers and said, after the ceremony, “It’s a shame that so many children don’t know about MIAs and POWs … they don’t salute.  Americanism is not taught in our schools anymore.”

But she said it’s not only about the men and women who never returned.  The ones that made it back also need America’s support.

“The men and women who have been to war, they sit here, and they don’t talk about it because it was too horrific,” she said.

Retired Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Sam Wasson was one soldier who made it home.

Wasson was also at the ceremony and said he served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam—a span of 30 years.

He said he was enticed to join the Marine Corps by some of his cousins that were already serving.

“I went in just a few months before turning 17,” he said.  That was in 1945.

Wasson said it’s important to keep veterans in the eyes of the public and those that make policy.

“It’s a shame that Congress keeps cutting funding for vets,” he said.  “Talkin’ to Congress, some of them think when you’re talkin’ about vets, you’re talking about veterinarians.”

And while Wasson was quick to offer criticism of Congress, he was full of praise for today’s soldiers.

“For the youngsters goin’ in, both men and women, they’re doin’ one hell of a job right now.”