Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Don’t give up hope of resolving MIA cases

It all began on February 20, 1967 when a plane went down. Now more than 40 years later a piece of bone is discovered during an excavation in Vietnam. On January 8th 2010 Nellis Air Force pilot remains are found and identified. "This is the four inch bone fragment that was found," pilot's daughter, Christine Stonebraker says.

While it would take more than two years for DNA results to be confirmed, Christine Stonebraker now knows what happened to her father, Nellis based Air Force pilot and Thunderbird announcer, Russell Goodman.

"Don't give up hope, don't give up hope, there's always a chance you'll see your loved one's remains as well," Christine says.

Goodman was on a bombing mission in North Vietnam when his plane, an F-4 Phantom was hit with a surface to air missile. Goodman was presumed dead but no one knew for sure.

At our American Legion as well as most others we have a special table for POW/MIAs. It is represented by a place setting which is never used. From the Legion guide for the symbolism represented by the table:

The Tablecloth is white, symbolic of the purity of their intentions to respond to their Country’s call to arms.

The table is being set for One, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner, alone against his or her oppressors.

The Yellow Ribbon on the Vase represents the yellow ribbons worn on the lapels of thousands who demand, with unyielding determination, a proper account of our comrades who are not among us.

The Single Rose in the vase signifies the blood they may have shed in sacrifice to ensure the freedom of our beloved United States of America. This rose reminds us of the family and friends of our missing comrades who keep faith, while awaiting their return.

A Slice of Lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of their bitter fate, those captured and missing in a foreign land.

The Salt being sprinkled on the plate is to remind us of the countless tears of those who have never come home and of the tears of their families and friends, whose grief knows no end.

The Bible serves to remind us of the comfort of faith offered to those who face seemingly insurmountable challenges, and it also reminds us of our country being founded on the principle of One Nation Under God.

The Glass is inverted; they cannot toast with us this day/night.

The Candle is reminiscent of the light of hope, which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

The American Flag reminds us that many may never return and have paid the supreme sacrifice to insure our freedom.

The Chair is empty, our Comrades are missing.

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