CORONADO VFW TO HOST POW/MIA
DINNER AND CANDLELIGHT SERVICE
CORONADO – The local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars is hosting their annual POW/MIA candlelight service and dinner Friday, Sep. 21, at 5:30 p.m. The event is an intimate tribute to all former and current prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.
This is a photograph of the actual POW bronze medallion with eagle. The circle around the eagle is of barbed wire and bayonet points that stand for pride, dignity and a continual effort to seize hold of freedom. The red, white and blue of the ribbon represent the United States. The larger, white stripes represent hope. And the black center stripe alludes to the bleakness of confinement as a prisoner of war.
“It’s important we never forget those who went missing, and those who suffered in captivity while serving their country,” said Michael Turner, spokesman for Coronado Post 2422.
Among the more famous POWs in Coronado were, and are, Admirals James Stockdale and Edward Martin (Vietnam), and Colonel Richard Kenney (WWII).
Coronado’s most visible and famous former POW was Admiral James Bond Stockdale, who was held as a prisoner of war in the Hoa Lo Prison for seven and a half years during the Vietnam War, four of them in solitary confinement. Stockdale received the Medal of Honor and four Silver Stars. He served as President of the Naval War College after the war, and ran for Vice President of the United States in the 1992 presidential election as running mate to Ross Perot. Jim Stockdale died in 2005, at the age of 81.
The VFW dinner is roast pork with “all the traditional fixin’s and dessert,” said Turner. “It’s a wonderful meal, and for a wonderful cause. All proceeds go to our VFW’s POW/MIA program, which is now involved with finding the remains of POW/MIAs throughout Europe and Asia (WWII), Korea and Vietnam.”
Currently the Veterans of Foreign Wars is working closely with groups in Russia, Japan and Vietnam to help locate the missing remains of American servicemen.
Admiral Edward H. Martin was shot down in 1967 over Vietnam and was a prisoner of war for almost six years, along with Jim Stockdale and John McCain. During his captivity, Ed had both his shoulders broken during rope torture. He was subject to long periods of beatings and solitary confinement, and lived in both leg and wrist irons. Today, at 80, he lives in Coronado with his wife Sherry and continues to serve on boards of various Coronado charities and causes.
Following the candlelight service and dinner there will be a drawing for numerous prizes donated by Coronado merchants. Admission for the dinner service and auction is a donation of $10. Reservations are not required. The restaurant seats 40 guests on a first-come basis.
Coronado Post 2422 is located at 557 Orange Avenue. For more information visit www.vfwpost2422.com.
Colonel Richard F. Kenney, 93, is Coronado’s oldest surviving POW (WWII). He grew up in Coronado (Class of ’38), and flew P-38 Lightnings in the European Theatre as a young Army Air Force lieutenant. He was shot down in 1943 and incarcerated in Stalag Luft III until the war’s end. This was the camp the movie “The Great Escape” was based on. Dick and 10,000 other Allied POWs were forced by the Germans to march for four days and nights through a brutal snowstorm at the end of the war.
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