National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day:
The National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day comes on the 9th of April in honor of the courage and bravery of men and women that have survived torture at the hands of their captors.
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Why National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
The men and women who serve their countries in war as military officers are indeed heroes. Their line of work being dangerous, it happens that they get captured sometimes and go through prolonged periods of torture and hardship. During this time, they have to endure the pain that comes from separation from their families, torture and mistreatment at the hands of the captors, and worse, fear. During this whole time, the prisoners of war demonstrate remarkable faith and endurance, progressively waiting to be rescued.
On the 9th of April, 1942, the Japanese took captive many troops of the United States forces that had been deployed to the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. This followed a very long battle that took place in extreme conditions. The American captives were compelled to match across 65 miles to the location of the Japanese prison camp. As part of the hardship, the captives were not provided any medical attention, food, or even water, an action that saw thousands of them lose their lives. The mistreatment went on for the ones that were still alive past the tough match. The Japanese prison camp was located in compounds deep within an unfamiliar jungle and the captives were held there for close to three years, a period characterized by hardship, brutality, and suffering. Some lost their lives during this period.
Since the age of the Revolutionary War, there have been so many service members who have been captured, with the number growing even higher when the ones that died and others that were never found are included. Nonetheless, every prisoner of war goes through the above-mentioned conditions, and worse, thereby deserving of a special day of recognition.
How we can celebrate/observe National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
Some of the ways through which we can observe the National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day include the following:
- Post on social media
One of the ways to observe the National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day is by posting on social media using the #NationalFormerPrisonerOfWarRecognition Day hashtag. This would serve to create awareness about this day and in so doing ensure that all the POWs and those serving their countries feel recognized and appreciated.
- Visit a military camp to personally thank them (if allowed)
You can also make a point of visiting the military camp that is nearest to your location and thanking soldiers for their service. Other than making them feel appreciated, it would also remind them that their services add value and protect lives to the people.
- Talking to people about the remarkable work servicemen and women do
Another way to observe the National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day is taking the time on this day to talk to people about the many ways that service members add value to our lives. Among the points to highlight include protecting us from our enemies, and sacrificing their security and time with their families among others.
- Donate to your POW rehab facility
Organizing for a donation towards the provision of the necessary help POW require is also a way of observing this day. After the rescue, POW requires medical treatment and prolonged periods of therapy thereafter to save them from PTSD.
Interesting facts about National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
Some of the most interesting facts about the National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day include:-
- On 9th April 1942, the largest number of U.S. Forces were taken captive by Japanese troops.
- The capture took place in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines, a site that witnessed a remarkable battled with prolonged periods of extreme conditions
- After the capture, the troops had to walk through a 65-mile distance to the prison camp, a journey filled with fear, torture, hunger, and starvation. Many died.
- The day was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan on 1st April 1988, under the presidential proclamation 5788.
History of National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day
The history of the National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day traces back to 1984 when a campaign led by former prisoners of war started. The movement was in pursuit of a day to recognize them. Congress approved with legislation that set this day on 9th April every year. The day was proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan on 1st April 1988 through the presidential proclamation 5788.