American POWs of Japan is a research project of Asia Policy Point, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that studies the US policy relationship with Japan and Northeast Asia. The project aims to educate Americans on the history of the POW experience both during and after World War II and its effect on the U.S.-Japan Alliance.
This week, September 20th – 26th, is Gold Star Families Remembrance Week, which honors the families of fallen service members and recognizes the sacrifices made by the family members of veterans who died in the line of duty.
The first tanker to die in WWII was a son of African American Kentucky sharecroppers. Pvt. Robert Brooks of the 192nd Tank Battalion was killed by a Japanese bomb on December 8, 1941 at Clark Field.
Cleveland Wright (b. 1931, d. 1992), U.S. Air Force,
Navy Rear Adm. Darius Banaji, deputy director of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency, hosts a moving ceremony on POW/MIA Recognition Day at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Sept. 18, 2020.
Throughout our Nation’s history, America’s sons and daughters have heroically safeguarded our precious freedoms and defended the cause of liberty both at home and abroad. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we remember the more than 500,000 prisoners of war who have endured incredible suffering and brutality under conditions of extraordinary privation, and the tens of thousands of our patriots who are still missing in action. Although our Nation will never be able to fully repay our debt to those who have given so much on our behalf, we commemorate their bravery and recommit to working for their long-suffering families who deserve answers and solace for their missing loved ones.
Today, I join a grateful Nation in honoring those POWs who faithfully served through extreme hardship and unimaginable physical and emotional trauma. Their lives and resilience reflect the best of the American Spirit, and their immeasurable sacrifices have ensured the blessings of freedom for future generations. On this day, we also reaffirm our unceasing global efforts to obtain the fullest possible accounting of our MIA personnel. The search, recovery, and repatriation of MIA remains help bring closure to families bearing the burden of the unresolved fate of their loved ones. That is why in 2018, I worked to secure the historic repatriation of remains from North Korea, and why we are continually working to bring more home from around the world. My Administration will never waver in fulfilling our country’s obligation to leave no service member behind.
This year, as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and reflect upon both the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War and the 45th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, we pause to recognize the men and women who were held as POWs or deemed MIA in these conflicts against repressive ideologies. These service members and civilians, many from the Greatest Generation, deserve a special place of honor in the hearts of all Americans because of their selfless devotion, unflinching courage, and unsurpassed dedication to our cherished American values.
On September 18, 2020, our Nation’s citizens will look to the iconic black and white flag as a powerful reminder of the service of America’s POWs and service members who have gone MIA. This flag, especially when flying high above our military installations abroad, conveys the powerful message of American devotion to the cause of human liberty and our commitment to never forget the brave Americans lost defending that liberty. On this National POW/MIA Recognition Day, our Nation takes a special moment to pay tribute to those who endured the horrors of enemy captivity and those lost in service to our country. Our Nation will continue to be resolute in our relentless pursuit of those remains of service members who have yet to return home from war and our steadfast promise to their families that their loved ones will never be forgotten.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 18, 2020, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Together with the people of the United States, I salute all American POWs who, in the presence of great dangers and uncertainties, valiantly honored their duty to this great country. Let this day also serve as a reminder for our Nation to strengthen our resolve to account for those who are still missing and provide their families long-sought answers. I call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
Mr. DANNY K. DAVIS of Illinois. Madam Speaker, today I rise to tell my colleagues during this week that ends with National POW/MIA Recognition Day about my district's 78-year old Maywood Bataan Memorial Day tradition. This service honors the men from the village of Maywood, Illinois who became prisoners of war after fighting from December 7, 1941 to April 9, 1942 against invading Imperial Japanese forces in the Philippines.
The men of Maywood were members of Company B of the federated Illinois National Guard 33rd Tank Company, 33rd Infantry Division based at the town's Armory. On November 25, 1940, they became part of the 192nd Tank Battalion of the U.S. Army. In October 1941, 89 men from Company ``B'' left the United States for the Philippine Islands. They arrived in the Philippine Islands on November 20, 1941--Thanksgiving Day. On December 8, the war started and the Japanese attacked.
These Illinois tankers fought valiantly on the Bataan Peninsula with little food, medicine, fuel, or ammunition. Relief from the United States never came. Malaria, scurvy, and dysentery reached epidemic proportions. On April 9, 1942, Bataan was surrendered. The following day, some 85,000 American and Filipino soldiers, as Japanese captives, all became victims of the greatest atrocity of the Pacific War: the Bataan Death March. A seemingly endless line of sick and starving men began their 85 mile trip up from the tip of Bataan to Camp O'Donnell in central Luzon. More than 12,000 died en route.
Survivors of the March endured three and a half years of death camps, brutal labor, and untold abuse. Many were taken to Japan aboard hell ships to be slave laborers for Japanese companies. Of the more than 10,000 Americans taken prisoner on Bataan, between 6,000 and 7,000 died. Of the 89 men of Company ``B'' who left the U.S. in 1941, only 43 would return from the war.
This is the first year that the Memorial, which was scheduled for September 13, has had to be postponed. I ask my fellow representatives to join me in commending the hard work and dedication of Maywood Bataan Day Organization President Col. Richard A. McMahon, Jr. and his Board of Directors. And on this Friday, September 18, National POW/MlA Recognition Day may we all pause to remember the men and women of Bataan who gave so much in the fight against tyranny.
Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. By law, 36 U.S. Code § 902, the POW/MIA Flag is to be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent Federal properties, such as the White House, to honor the more than 82,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted for from our nation's past wars and conflicts.
Display of the POW/MIA flag pursuant to this law must be "in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public."
From August 1998 until June 2020, the POW/MIA flag has been displayed every day atop the White House. It is the only place on the White House grounds that is continually visible to the public. The flag was removed sometime in June 2020. White House spokesman Judd Deere told Reuters, “The president selected a site on the Southwest corner of the South Lawn for this prominent and sacred memorial, which is visible to all those who visit the White House, that features the POW/MIA flag.” This is not what the law implies. It must be visible to all.
Prior to the signing of the Act, the POW/MIA flag was required only to be displayed by the Federal government on certain prominent federal properties only six days per year to include Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Veterans Day.
POW/MIA FLAG IS MISSING FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TODAY
There are still 47,177 missing from the War in the Pacific
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH is Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Dedication
The Memorial, commissioned by Congress in 1999, honors the legacy of the World War II Supreme Allied Commander and nation's 34th President. Eisenhower served as MacArthur's assistant in Washington and his advisor in the Philippines in the 1930s. See here for more details
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 is The Bataan Death March and The Sack of Cement Cross Seminar The National Prisoner of War Museum at the Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia is hosting a virtual event about the historic cross at Camp O'Donnell. The cross is exhibited at the Museum. PANEL MEMBERS Gia Wagner, Superintendent, National Prisoner of War Museum Randy Olson (Moderator), Filmmaker, son of Col. John Olson Chris Schaefer, Filmmaker/Historian Fred Baldassarre, Historian Dan Crowley, 98 yr old veteran of Bataan, former P.O.W. John Eakin, Specialist, Identification of MIA/KIA remains REGISTER HERE WATCH AN OLSON VIDEO ABOUT CAMP O'DONNELL HERE ON FACEBOOK
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-19 is the HOME ALIVE IN ‘45: PIVOTAL DECISIONS TO END THE WAR SYMPOSIUM The Admiral Nimitz Foundation and National Museum of the Pacific War in Texas holds its 33rd Annual Symposium virtually. This year – the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII – the focus is on the strategies, events and impacts of the end of WWII in the Pacific. See and hear five experts in their fields speak and take your questions, a lively roundtable discussion with all five speakers, and stimulating breakouts that connect the dots between WWII and today's concerns. Book discounts and an auction.
Marc Gallicchio - Unconditional Surrender: An Introduction to the End of WWII Richard B. Frank – Downfall: The Stark Realities of the Atomic Bomb Craig Symonds - The Legacy of Admiral Nimitz in Today’s Japan Noriko Kawamura - A Conflicted Man: Emperor Hirohito and the End of the War with the United States James Hornfischer - Revelation and Reckoning: Total War in the Pacific 1944-1945 Plus 3 concurrent breakouts: Race in the Military Then and Now, led by Lt. General Vincent Stewart, USMC (Ret.) The Pandemic—In Search of an Answer, led by Rob Havers, Ph.D. The Evolving Roles of Women in the Military led by Major General Angela Salinas (Ret.)
Dan Crowley, 98, from Connecticut, is a former POW of Japan who survived the December 8-10, 1941 bombing of Nichols Field near Manila as a member of the US Army Air Corps, the Battle of the Points on Bataan as part of the US Army Infantry, swimming to Corregidor to avoid the Bataan Death March, fighting with the 4th Marines on Corregidor, and then as a POW enduring the Cabanatuan POW Camp, constructing the air field on Palawan Island, a hell ship to Japan, and slave labor in the Ashio Copper Mine owned (and still owned) by the mega company Furukawa. He is mad as hell with what the President said about him and his fellow POWs. He talked to VoteVets about how he felt.
Vice President Pence at Arlington November 11, 2019
Nor has he, as past presidents have, hosted a Veterans Day breakfast for all the Veterans Service Organizations and prominent veterans. Former American POWs of Japan attended these during the Obama years.
There have been three Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery thus far under the Trump Administration. President Donald Trump has not attended once. Twice he planned to be out of town and once he did know it was important and he was tired from returning from a trip to France where he noted he had already been to a military cemetery.
This 2019 article from the Military Times describes what Trump as done instead.
Here’s Where President Donald Trump Will Spend Veterans Day
9 Nov 2019 Military.com | By Richard Sisk
President Donald Trump will not be attending the traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day. Instead he’ll speak at the start of the Veterans Day parade in New York City, billed as the nation’s largest.
On Wednesday, the United Veterans War Council, which organizes the annual Manhattan parade, announced that Trump would be at the kickoff of the event with other honorees in Madison Square Park, off Fifth Avenue.
The White House later confirmed that Trump would be going to the parade. The New York City tradition began 100 years ago, with a huge ticker-tape parade for returning troops from World War I. Many of the marchers this year will be dressed as doughboys.
Trump is not expected to march in the parade, but Gen. David Berger, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, will lead a contingent of Marines along the 5th Avenue route.
In a statement, Douglas McGowan, chairman of the nonprofit United Veterans War Council, said Trump would be the first president to attend the city’s Veterans Day parade.
“On behalf of all the men and women who have served our nation, and who continue to serve, the United War Veterans Council is honored that our Commander-in- Chief, President Donald J. Trump, has agreed to join our 100th annual tribute,” McGowan said. “This is a day when we put politics aside to focus on honoring our veterans.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has often traded insults with Trump, appeared willing to call a truce for Veterans Day.
He told City Hall reporters that the day “should not be politicized. It should not be a spectacle. If he’s really coming here to truly honor veterans, God bless him.”
Last week, Trump drew a chorus of boos, mixed with some cheers, when he showed up at an Ultimate Championship Fighting event in Madison Square Garden.
In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton won 79% of the vote in New York City overall, compared to 19% for Trump. However, Trump won on Staten Island, 57%-40%.
Trump, who grew up in Queens and made his reputation in the city’s fiercely competitive real estate business, will be coming back to the city after recently declaring that New York was no longer his hometown. He changed his permanent residence to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
In a tweet, Trump said he still loved the city, “but unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse.”
Trump also currently is fighting a subpoena from the Manhattan District Attorney for his personal and business tax records. Presidents have typically attended ceremonies and the traditional wreath-laying at Arlington on Veterans Day, though there are some exceptions. President Barack Obama was at Arlington for six of the eight years he was in office. He was traveling overseas the other two times.
In 2008, President George W. Bush marked Veterans Day at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in Manhattan.
In 2017, Trump’s first year in office, he was in Vietnam on Veterans Day and attended a commemorative event there with Vietnam veterans. Vice President Mike Pence represented the administration at Arlington in 2017.
In 2018, Trump arrived back at the White House the night before Veterans Day after attending World War I armistice 100th anniversary ceremonies in France. He stayed at the White House on Veterans Day and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie represented the administration at Arlington.
In a later interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump said he probably should have gone to Arlington for Veterans Day in 2018, but appeared to be mistaken on where he was on Veterans Day in 2017.
“In retrospect, I should have done, and I did last year and I will virtually every year,” Trump said. “But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine.”
“I was extremely busy because of affairs of state, doing other things,” Trump said, “but I would have done it.”