Editor’s Note: Last week we posted a picture gallery from the high School Veterans Day Ceremony (click to see large photo gallery). And we posted a poem written by a student that was there (click to see poem). As a side note all of the picture were taken by High School Students. Now you can see the script from that day and what was said:
JC SULLIVAN: We thank Dr. Joe Clark, Principle Casey Wright, Rob Rardin and the students for the opportunity to present the POW/MIA Ceremony.
FRANK POSAR: Those who have served, and those currently serving in the uniformed services of the United States, are ever mindful that the sweetness of enduring peace has always been tainted by the bitterness of personal sacrifice. We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasures, there are others who have endured, and may still be enduring, the agonies of pain, deprivation and imprisonment.
As of January 2017, 82,608 Americans are listed as missing and unaccounted for, of which 73,095 are from World War Two, 7,764 from Korea, 1,617 from Vietnam, 126 from the Cold War and 6 from Iraq and other conflicts. The first Ohioan to die in WWII was US Navy Ensign William Halloran. He attended St. Ignatius and John Marshall High Schools. He is entombed aboard the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor Hawaii.
JC SULLIVAN: Our military has never ceased to locate and return the remains of our missing servicemen and women. In 1943, a new Liberator B24D bomber was part of the 376th Bombardment Group based at Soluch Field in Libya. The name Lady Be Good, was hand-painted on the starboard, front side of the forward fuselage.
Her crew of nine men had only arrived in Libya a week before. On their first mission together they bombed the harbor of Naples, Italy. After the attack, all planes were expected to return to their bases in North Africa. The Lady Be Good and her crew did not.
FRANK: As we continue with this service today, we pause to recognize the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action of the United States. We call your attention to this small table, which occupies a place of dignity and honor. It is set for one, symbolizing the fact that members of our armed forces .are missing from our ranks. They are referred to as POWs and MIAs.
JC: In 1958 the immaculately-preserved wreck of the Lady Be Good was discovered by British Petroleum engineers in the desert. The crew had failed to realize they had overshot their target and they bailed out without taking their canteens and emergency food. No remains of the crew were found at the wreckage site.
FRANK: We call them comrades. They are unable to be with their loved ones and families, so we join together to pay humble tribute to them, and to bear witness to their continued absence.
A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of the bitterness of their fate.
The salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless tears of their waiting families.
JC: The survivors of the Lady Be Good died in the desert trying to walk to safety. Between February and August, 1960 all but one of their remains were recovered. In August the remains of THE Bombardier, 2nd Lt John S. Woravka from Cleveland, were recovered. He was a graduate of John Adams School.
FRANK: The table is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her suppressors.
The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions when they responded to our nation’s call-to- arms.
The single rose in the vase signifies the blood they many have in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America.
It also reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep faith, as they hopefully have awaited their return.
JC: A missing B-24 bomber that crashed in the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Italy during World War II was recently discovered. The remains of US Army Air Force Staff Sergeant Thomas McGraw, an MIA for 70 years, were recovered.
FRANK: The red ribbon on the vase represents the red ribbons worn on the lapels of the thousands who demand, with unyielding determination, a proper account of our comrades who are not among us.
JC: On a Friday this past September, Staff Sgt. McGraw, the oldest of nine children, including seven boys, was returned to Cleveland. Of his five brothers who served in the war, all but Thomas returned home safely. His final resting place is in the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.
FRANK: The glass is inverted; they cannot toast with us at this time. The chair is empty. They are NOT here.
The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope living in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, into the open arms of their grateful nation.
The American Flag reminds us that many of them may never return – and have already paid the supreme sacrifice to insure our freedom. *Let us pray to the Supreme Commander that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks. *Let us remember – and never forget the sacrifice of their lives. May God forever watch over and protect them and their families.