(Washington, D.C.)—In honor of those still missing from the Vietnam War, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) will convene a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony on Friday morning, August 16, at 7:00 a.m., at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville-Riverfront, located at 225 E. Coastline Drive. The ceremony is open to the public.
"We will do this to honor our Prisoners of War for their sacrifices and to remember the ones who have not yet returned," said Les Bertrand of VVA Chapter 1046, Duvall County. "We will never forget their service and sacrifice and that of their families," noted John Rowan, National President of VVA."
The honor guard of the Nicholas J. Cutinha Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1046 of Duval County and former Vietnam POW Bill Byrnes will lead the ceremony. They will be joined by their fellow Vietnam veterans who are in Jacksonville to attend the 16th National Convention of Vietnam Veterans of America, as well as the Patriot Guard Riders and the Combat Veteran Riders.
As of August 9, 2013, the Defense POW/ Missing Personnel Office lists 1,645 as missing from the Vietnam War: 1,276 in Vietnam; 309 in Laos; 53 in Cambodia; and 7 in China. From the state of Florida, there remain 57 servicemen unaccounted for.
More than 850 delegates from VVA local chapters across the nation will join hundreds of other Vietnam veterans and guests in Jacksonville the week of August 12. The delegates will meet in convention to debate national resolutions and Constitutional Amendments. Later in the week, they will vote for VVA's national leaders—officers and board members—for the upcoming two years. VVA's supporting organization, the Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, will hold their biennial national convention simultaneously, beginning August 14.