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National POW/MIA Recognition Day September 28, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in History, Morning Sun.
Tags: , , ,

by Connie Street

Have you seen the 1953 movie “Stalag 17” starring William Holden?

The story was written in 1948 by two former prisoners of war held in Stalag 17 during World War II. Stalag is a German abbreviation for prisoner of war camp. This one held American flyers and was located near Krems, Austria.

The authors, Donald Bevan and Edmund Trzcinski,were prisoners in Stalag 17-B, one of many German prisoner of war camps.

I have met two survivors of Stalag 17 who live near Wapello. They say most of the film is based on fact.

U.S. veterans of World War II are dying at a rate of more than 1,000 a day. There were 16 million of them, but only about 2.5 million are still alive according to the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates.

Last week I attended a National POW/MIA Recognition Day program at Solon High School. Solon High School students took part in the ceremony.

Only 12 former POWs were in attendance. They each shared a brief story about their POW experiences.

I urge you not to forget all men and women who served our country, regardless of when or how they served. You don’t have to wait for a holiday like Memorial Day or Veterans Day to do it.

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Mount Vernon, was the featured speaker at the Solon event. I am going to share some of his comments.

This is a day to reaffirm our commitment to these individuals, pay tribute to our men and women in uniform, and to recognize the friends and families of POW/MIA veterans who remain steadfast in their courage and faith.

These veterans represent the best of America and the best of Iowa. They fought selflessly so that you and I may continue to enjoy the freedoms upon which our country is founded.

Their stories are important because they remind us that we cannot take the foundations of our nation for granted. That they must be preserved and that the responsibility that we have to our veterans is to exercise those freedoms and remain vigilant in preserving them.

Today, we reaffirm that we will never forget the men and women who have sacrificed so much for each and every one of us.

The Prisoners of War from World War II that I know of are Philip W. Bailey who died Jan. 14, 1943, in an Italian submarine where he was being held; Everett Stigge (deceased) was on the Bataan Death March; Gaylord Elliot (deceased); Phil Downs (deceased); and Howard Hobbs and Leroy Pierce, who are both living in Morning Sun.

Missing in Action are Seaman 2nd Class Glenn Lewis “Pat” Allen of Wapello 1942; Pfc. John Henry Walker of Wapello 1944; Seaman 2nd Class Glen L. Winder.

There may be others, please contact me if you know other names.

Connie Street is a retired journalist who contributes regularly to the Wapello Republican. She also staffs our local historical museum.



1. Jerome L. Cross - September 28, 2009

Robert (Bob) Fletcher of Wapello was a POW in Germany. He is deceased. Knew him well and he told many tales of his time as a POW and the hardships he endured.

2. Connie Street - September 29, 2009

Thanks Jerry. I will add him to my list.

3. In Memorium: Connie Street « Wapello Warbler's Louisa County - October 27, 2010

[…] National POW/Mia Recognition Day […]

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