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Prisoners of war, MIA veterans honored at Johnstown ceremony

Tribune-Democrat - 9/22/2018

Sept. 22--Dyanna Miller has not let a day of her life go by without thinking about her father.

James Crew, of Windber, went missing in action in 1967 during the Vietnam War, but his memory continues to live on.

"I grew up thinking the only people who were going to remember my dad was the family because nobody else loved him like we did, nobody cared about him like we did and nobody wanted him home as much as we did," said Miller, a Johnstown resident. "As an adult, when I come to these programs and see people in the crowd, it means that someone else is remembering, so it's not just on my shoulders or the shoulders of my children."

In observance of the United States' National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Veterans Community Initiatives held a ceremony Friday in Veterans Park in downtown Johnstown to acknowledge those in the U.S. military classified as prisoners of war or missing in action.

"We honor not only our missing in action, but also the POWs," said Tom Caulfield, director of Veterans Community Initiatives. "Many of our POWs from World War II and Korean have now passed on, but there still are a few former POWs in the area, and we want to let them know that we do care and they are not forgotten."

As part of the service, VFW 155 Color Guard presented the colors and taps was performed.

"The bottom line is to never forget our veterans," Caulfield said. "As a nation, we are committed to honor their sacrifice. Each year on POW/MIA Recognition Day, we recognize those Americans for their courage and determination shown in the face of unspeakable hardships."

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, 82,000 Americans remain missing from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, the Gulf wars and other recent conflicts.

Patricia Crew, of Windber, said having a support network, specifically Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 364, in the community has helped her family deal with the uncertainty of her husband's whereabouts.

"I've lived the last 51 years, from 1967 to 2018, but I'm still back in 1967, and I'm still waiting," she said. "If I can get an answer, that would be great. I hope somewhere along the way, I'll get some kind of closure, and I hope it for my family, too."

Crew said she speaks of her husband frequently to her grandchildren and shares stories about his life.

"I didn't want him to be dead in their eyes. He was a terrific father and person," she said.

Crew added that recognition services such as Friday's let her know that people still care about missing service members and POWs.

"It helps you and makes your realize that you're not by yourself," she said. "It lets us get the message out."

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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(c)2018 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.)

Visit The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.) at www.tribune-democrat.com

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