POW/MIA's Recognized at Robins Air Force Base
In 1998, Congress established National POW/MIA Recognition Day as part of the Defense Authorization Act. The day is observed annually on the third Friday of September. Robins Air Force Base started early honoring prisoners of war, those missing in action, and their families at a ceremony Thursday at the Museum of Aviation.
"People don't realize that freedom don't come free. Somebody has to pay," says J.D. Lankford, a World War II POW.
J.D. Lankford was taken prisoner in World War II, at the Battle of the Bulge, just 15 days after arriving on the line.
"Our commanding officer had to surrender us. There were thousands of us. That or face nothing but death. My friends, we didn't have anything to fight with. I fired every round that I had in my weapon," says Lankford.
Also during World War II, 20 year old, John Dominey's plane was shot out of the sky over Austria.
"All of us had to bail out. In the crew, the whole crew had to bail out. I was captured and spent ten days in jail," says John Dominey, a World War II POW.
A harrowing experience for the future Georgia Tech graduate but it could have been much worse.
"A lot of them have had a much harder time than I did. I've had some very good friends that was on those long marches and all that. And they were good friends," says Dominey.
Lankford is one of those who had it worse. He spent 188 days as a prisoner and came out weighing just 93 pounds.
"Hungry? My friends when you see the flesh roll off your bones like sweat rolling from your brow you know what hunger is," says Lankford.
Friday is the official National POW/MIA Recognition Day, one of six days a year the MIA/POW flag can be flown. The POW/MIA flag, which states, "YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN," is the only flag other than the United States flag to ever have flown over the White House.