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Team Whiteman honors POW/MIA Recognition Day

Airmen run with a POW/MIA flag next to the base lake.

Tech. Sgt. Trayvon Mendez, 509th Security Forces Squadron defender, carries a POW/MIA flag while running during a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event around Ike Skelton Lake at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 17, 2020. The event is held each year on the third Friday in September to honor service members who were prisoners of war or missing in action. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

A POW/MIA flag waves in front of the base lake.

A POW/MIA flag waves in the wind after a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 18, 2020. The POW/MIA flag symbolizes America’s commitment to remembrance of its POW/MIA service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander, delivers opening remarks for a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event.

Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander, delivers opening remarks for a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event, at Ike Skelton Lake on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 17, 2020. National POW/MIA Recognition Day traces its history back to the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when many American service members were listed as POW/MIA during and after the war. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Airmen run with a POW/MIA flag next to the base lake.

Team Whiteman members run the final lap of a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event around Ike Skelton Lake at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 18, 2020. More than 125 volunteers honored POW/MIA service members by running, walking and rucking for 24 hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

Chief Master Sgt. Nicholas Conner, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent, reads the names of American service members who are still missing in action during a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event.

Chief Master Sgt. Nicholas Conner, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron superintendent, reads the names of American service members who are still missing in action during a 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 17, 2020. Approximately 82,000 Americans are still listed as missing in action including more than 72,000 from World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Parker J. McCauley)

This video was created to support the command message, Team Whiteman remembers POWs and MIAs. Airmen ran with the POW/MIA flag and listed off names of POWs and MIAs for 24 hours at Whiteman AFB, MO on September 17, 2020. (U.S. Air Force Video by Airman 1st Class Devan Halstead)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Members of Team Whiteman ran, walked and rucked for 24 hours to honor and remember prisoners of war and those missing in action at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Sept. 17-18, 2020.

More than 125 volunteers participated in the 24-hour POW/MIA Remembrance event by completing laps around the Ike Skelton Lake and reading out the names of the approximately 82,000 American service members who are still missing in action.

“For the next 24 hours, I hope that everybody who is part of this takes some time to really reflect,” said Col. Jeffrey Schreiner, 509th Bomb Wing commander. “Reflect on what we have, reflect on the history and the sacrifices that have been made over the years, reflect on the people that didn’t come back.”

The 24-hour remembrance event is held each year on National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

“Volunteers will carry the POW/MIA flag for the entire 24 hours,” said Master Sgt. Eric Whipple, 509th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst flight chief. “The flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. We will also be listing off the approximately 82,000 Americans still missing in action.”

The event was a success, despite the ongoing pandemic.

“COVID can’t stop some things,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen McCool, 509th Bomb Wing Command Chief. “It might make it a little bit different, but COVID cannot stop everything and this is one thing that COVID could not stop.”

Following the event McCool thanked the coordinators for their hard work putting the event together and making it succeed despite challenges presented by the COVID safety concerns.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.