ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Remember. It’s one simple word, but it was the theme of the POW/MIA Ceremony held Sept. 15 at the Museum of Aviation. And, a powerful theme it was.
A somber demonstration around a circular table which honored those from each branch of the military included dress hats from the Coast Guard, Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy. A baseball cap was used to represent civilians.
The POW/MIA flag was walked in after the 24-hour vigil run, which started at 3 p.m. Sept. 14.
The flag was flown over the White House in 1988. It was installed at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation.
Other than the American flag, the POW/MIA flag is the only flag to fly over the White House, since 1982, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What better way to remember those who have been prisoners of war or missing in action than to hear from a former POW? The keynote speaker was retired Chaplain (Col.) Robert Certain, a B-52 navigator, who flew 100 missions over Southeast Asia from 1971 to 1972.
On the day he was supposed to return to the U.S. and his new bride, Certain’s B-52 was shot down in Northeast Hanoi in North Korea. He was captured Dec. 18, 1972 and was released March 29, 1973.
“It was good to be in the C-141 coming home,” he said. He was only 25 when he was taken prisoner.
“Communication was a big deal. Maintaining military bearing was a big deal. Supporting each other in adversity was a big deal,” Certain said.
Since he was taken near the end of the war, Certain said he wasn’t tortured like some of the POW accounts he has heard. He was “roughed up” one time with a rifle for a smart-aleck comment during questioning.
During his presentation, Certain presented the Code of Conduct for military personnel on a PowerPoint presentation. He said that code was what kept them alive during captivity.