CUMBERLAND — Those members of the military who died as prisoners of war or are listed as missing in action will be remembered officially by Allegany County, which will now fly the familiar black and white POW/MIA Flag at the county office building and display the flag in the commissioners meeting room along with the U.S., state and county flags.
“The MIA/POW flag carries a lot of meaning for the families of those who have served but never returned home,” said Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine, a U.S. Army veteran. “The Korean War has more than 7,900 MIAs, the Vietnam conflict had nearly 1,700 MIAs. The families of these lost heroes deserve an answer about their loved ones, and need to know that their service has not, and will not, be forgotten. This flag is a flag of honor. It’s simple black and white design is a statement of the solemn feelings.”
Commissioners recognized local POW/MIAs and decided to begin flying the flag at their business meeting at county offices last week.
Bringing the POW/MIA flag to county offices was the idea of Larry E. Schlossnagle, a county employee and retired Army National Guard sergeant first class. The third Friday in September is a remembrance day for those members of the military who are listed as POW/MIA. All of those currently on the official list are from Korea, except for one soldier who was declared MIA after a plane crash in Laos.
“This is the only flag besides the stars and stripes that has been flown at the White House,” Schlossnagle said.
Schlossnagle said the high cost of freedom should never be forgotten. Since World War I, more than 100,000 members of the military remain MIA, Schlossnagle said.
Schlossnagle read a list of military members listed as POW or MIA from Allegany County. The list, believed to be complete, is as follows:
• Cpl. James Rexroad Hare, Army, died while a POW in Korea on April 30, 1951. His remains were identified Jan. 19, 2013. He was known to his family as Jim.
• Cpl. Harvey Lee Marks, Army, died while MIA in Korea. Presumed dead Dec. 31, 1953, remains not recovered.
• Sgt. Raymond Harrison McCoy, Army, died while a POW in Korea on March 31, 1951, remains not recovered.
• Pfc. John Lee McKenzie, Army, died while MIA, Korea, presumed dead Dec. 31, 1953, remains not recovered.
• Pfc. William Robinson Seggie, Army, died while MIA in Korea, presumed dead Feb. 17, 1954, remains not recovered.
• Pfc. Paul Thomas Smith, Army, died while MIA in Korea, presumed dead Dec. 31, 1953, remains not recovered.
• Cpl. George William Walters, Army, died while MIA in Korea, presumed dead Dec. 31, 1953, remains not recovered.
• Sgt. 1st Class Michael Richard Watson, Army, died while MIA in Korea, presumed dead Dec. 31, 1953, remains not recovered, known to his family as Mike.
• Sgt. Richard Cornell White, Army, died while MIA in Korea, presumed dead Dec. 31, 1953, remains not recovered. White was seriously wounded by the enemy Sept. 4, 1950, and returned to active duty Oct. 3, 1950. He was listed as MIA Nov. 28, 1950.
• Sgt. Donald L. Wright, USAF, died while MIA in Laos on Nov. 24, 1969, remains returned Nov. 15, 1993, and identified Oct. 2, 1995.
Commissioner Michael McKay offered a prayer for the POW/MIAs and their families.
Commissioners also recognized Sept. 8—14 as National Patriotism Week and urged citizens to join with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in expressing gratitude for the privilege of citizenship in the United States of America.
Contact Matthew Bieniek at email@example.com.