MEREDITH — The Northeast POW/MIA Network, which holds what is believed to be the longest consecutively held POW/MIA vigil in the United States every Thursday evening at Hesky Park, reminds the public that Friday, September 20 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is held each year on the third Friday in September. This Friday ceremonies will be held across the country to commemorate the sacrifices of the missing servicemen and their families.
The Thursday evening vigils in Meredith started in August of 1989 in an effort to raise awareness about the abandonment of Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. The first Vigil lasted 15 minutes; one minute to symbolize each year since the US State Department declared, "There are no more prisoners in Southeast Asia. They are all dead." The vigil now spans 32 minutes.
There has never been a Thursday night Vigil unattended since its inception. Attendance ranges from 3-4 in the depths of winter to approximately 2000 during Motorcycle Week in June, which features the Freedom Ride Vigil goers have weathered rain, sleet, snow, hail, thunder, lightning, and even temperatures of -37 degrees Fahrenheit.