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Schriever to host POW/MIA remembrance week

Honor guard members raise the POW/MIA flag in honor of POW/MIA week Sept. 9, 2013, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. This year’s remembrance week will include opening and closing ceremonies featuring speakers, including wing leadership as well as retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Ed Beck, a former prisoner of war. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)

Honor guard members raise the POW/MIA flag in honor of POW/MIA week Sept. 9, 2013, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. This year’s remembrance week will include opening and closing ceremonies featuring speakers, including wing leadership as well as retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Ed Beck, a former prisoner of war. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Dennis Rogers)

Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Ed beck speaks to Schriever members during the closing ceremony of POW/MIA remembrance week Sept. 18, 2014, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Beck was a POW during World War II and managed to escape after six months in captivity. (Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Ed beck speaks to Schriever members during the closing ceremony of POW/MIA remembrance week Sept. 18, 2014, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Beck was a POW during World War II and managed to escape after six months in captivity. (Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Sept. 14 initiates remembrance week here for prisoners of war and those still missing in action.

According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, at present, more than 83,000 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts.

A group of Airmen from units around the base are preparing for Schriever to host various remembrance events.

"As a Senior Airman this is the biggest task I've received, but with the help of the POW/MIA committee and my supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Adalberto Torres, I am honored to be able to do this event for those who were prisoners of war and those still not accounted for," said Senior Airman Ivan Aguirre, 1st Space Operations Squadron space based space surveillance system operator.

The week will include opening and closing ceremonies featuring speakers, including wing leadership as well as retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. Ed Beck, a former prisoner of war. In 1944, Beck, a POW during World War II, managed to escape after six months in captivity.

"I'm looking forward to meeting Ed Beck. I've never met a World War II veteran or Prisoner of War," said Aguirre.

The High Frontier Honor Guard will be present to post colors and provide additional ceremonious services.

A 24-hour vigil run will also be held later in the week where teams of four or more will run for 30 minute intervals while holding the POW/MIA flag at the forefront.

Chief Master Sgt. John Bentivegna, 50th Space Wing command chief, shared why it's important to remember those who haven't been able to come home.

"I think that as members of the profession of arms, and the fact that we've decided we're willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country and the defense of our constitution, we have a solemn duty to never forget and always seek the return of our brothers and sisters in arms," said Bentivegna.

Traditionally, POW/MIA remembrance day is held annually the third Friday in September. The first official commemoration of POW/MIAs was July 18, 1979, as a result of a congressional resolution.
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