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St. Cloud VA TO host POW recognition ceremony

Friday, April 6, has been designated as Prisoners of War (POW) Recognition Day throughout the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. A ceremony honoring Minnesota's former Prisoners of War will be conducted at 10 a.m. in the Auditorium (Building 8), on the St. Cloud VA campus. More than thirty former POWs will be recognized for their dedication and service to our country.

Kevin Hermening will be the keynote speaker. Hermening was the youngest of the Americans held hostage for 444 days at the US Embassy in Iran from 1979-1981. Hermening often shares his experiences while in captivity, the tragedy in the desert during the failed rescue mission, and his views on the challenges the US faces in its dealings with the Middle East.

Also contributing to this program are the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Marine Corps League, and the Vietnam Veterans of America. The Health Care System's "Avenue of Flags" will be flown to honor this special group of Veterans.

More than one-half million Americans have been captured and held as Prisoners of War since the American Revolution. The largest number of POWs occurred during the Civil War when an estimated 220,000 Confederate soldiers were captured by the Union and nearly 127,000 Union soldiers were captured by the Confederates. Since World War I, over 142,000 Americans - including 85 women - have been captured and held as POWs. Not included in this figure are nearly 93,000 Americans who were lost or never recovered. More than 90 percent of the living POWs were captured and held during World War II.