TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler kicked off “Vet Week 2020” with a ceremony that honored veterans designated as “Missing in Action” (MIA) or Prisoners of War (POW).
The event had multiple speakers, including Texas State Rep. Matt Schaefer, who is a Navy reservist. Schaefer spoke about the many ways that active troops honor those who are considered MIA, including by always leaving a table open at mealtime.
He also said that his passion to join the military was sparked by talking to veterans of World War II and the Korean War.
Also speaking was Gary Roberts, the Chapter 1 President in Texas for the group Rolling Thunder. The mission of the organization is to “educate the public of the fact that many American prisoners of war were left behind after all past wars.”
According to Roberts, there are currently 86,532 MIA veterans since World War I. Here is the most recent list:
- World War I: 4,420
- World War II: 72,729
- Vietnam: 1,589
- Cold War: 126
- Iraq: 6
Roberts says that their organization believes in holding the government accountable for bringing home those they have left behind. Their non-profit has worked with government all over the world and stated that most are usually cooperative.
He said in an interview with KETK after the event that they have even gotten help from South Vietnam and North Korea in the past couple of years.