ELKO — There are families across the nation that continue to wonder where their relatives’ final resting places lie.
To bring awareness to the missing and unaccounted from wars starting in World War II until now, Kay Moore of the POW/MIA Elko Awareness Association has spearheaded a candlelight ceremony as prelude to the National POW/MIA Day Saturday.
The candlelight ceremony is 7 p.m. Friday at Main City Park by the flagpole and the Memorial Rose Garden.
Moore’s husband, John Moore, had a father who went missing in Vietnam and traces of him have yet to be found. Moore said knowing her husband’s hardship and inspiration from her recent trip to Washington, D.C., for the National League of Families led her to plan the event. The Elko association raises money for the National League of Families, which funds research to identify DNA found at war sites and to bring the missing home.
“We are about awareness and getting the word out there. We want people to be aware there are still people unaccounted for,” Moore said.
She said the purpose of the vigil is to raise the level of awareness.
“We, as people, can do a lot and we as voters — if we’re on our government — we can bring everyone home,” said Cheri Richins of the awareness association. “Every American should take this journey and know these numbers. The current is 83,604 POW/MIAs from WW II until now.”
The ceremony will begin with a posting of the colors that include flags from all military branches, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Vietnam veteran Gil Hernandez.
POW/MIA chaplain Dorsey Munson will then conduct an invocation and Hernandez will read a piece of Scripture.
The event continues with a background on POW/MIA recognition day. Throughout the ceremony, Moore said names of one person missing or unaccounted for from each of the 50 states will be read aloud.
Next, a poem written by a local girl, Heidi Arndt, “Does My Generation have a Role in America’s Future?” will be read.
At the end of the ceremony the candles will be lit before a moment of silence for the missing.
“This community is ultra-supportive and we’re just trying to get people out and about and aware of this issue,” Moore said. “Everyone is welcome. If you’re part of the community please join us.”