Lipinski's Resolution Honoring National POW/MIA Recognition Day Passes the House

Today, the House of Representatives approved Congressman Dan Lipinski’s resolution calling on all Americans to honor National POW/MIA Recognition Day and expressing the nation’s gratitude to the tens of thousands of service members who endured unimaginable privation as prisoners of war or who served and sacrificed in defense of our freedom but never returned from the battlefield. Congressman Lipinski (IL-03) delivered the following remarks on the House floor prior to the vote:

"Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 1630, a resolution I introduced expressing support for National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which occurred on September 17th. With every war America wages, our nation owes a greater debt to the courageous and selfless members of the United States Armed Forces, who have fought to secure our freedom and liberty.

"During the course of these conflicts, more than 138,000 brave American servicemen and women have been detained or interned as Prisoners of War. Many suffered through torture, forced labor, and unspeakable hardships. Some POWs returned home, others did not. But they all deserve our recognition and gratitude. Also deserving special recognition are those Americans who never returned from war, those who are missing in action. Indeed, there remain today over 84,000 missing-in-action soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are unaccounted for on the battlefields of World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War, and the Gulf War.

"One particular group of American heroes I want to mention today is the more than 500 U.S. Marines and sailors from World War II who remain unaccounted for on the small Pacific atoll of Tarawa. I worked with Armed Forces Committee Chairman Ike Skelton to include language in the 2010 Defense Reauthorization urging the Department of Defense to review new research on the location of the remains of U.S. servicemen on Tarawa and to do everything feasible to see that they are recovered. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has just returned from Tarawa, and I, along with the families of these missing service members, look forward to receiving the report on this mission.

"It is our obligation to honor the extraordinary service of all American POWs and MIAs. Congress first passed a resolution commemorating National POW/MIA Recognition Day in 1979. Since then, the third Friday of every September has been set aside to give remembrance to our nation’s prisoners of war, unaccounted for military personnel, and their families and friends. So long as members of our Armed Forces remain unaccounted for, we must expend every effort to bring them home to the country in whose defense they fought and sacrificed. It is vital that today’s troops and their families know the United States will pursue all possible measures to fulfill the promise of recovery.

"I want to highlight the unwavering commitment of the military commands devoted to recovering remains and providing solace and closure to the families of Americans who remain missing in action from previous conflicts. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, the POW/Missing Personnel Office, the Armed Forces Identification Laboratory, and the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory – as well as numerous veterans and POW/MIA organizations – are more than deserving of recognition.

"And we cannot forget the two U.S. servicemen who are currently listed as held captive in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will continue to pray for a swift and auspicious end to their ordeal.

"Until they are home, our thoughts and prayers will forever remain with the families, friends, and loved ones of those Americans who suffered through tremendous hardship for their country."

(September 28, 2010)


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