By MIDN 1/C Sarah Elyard
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Gathered on the Old Main Lawn, members of the Navy, Army, and Air Force ROTC programs honored those declared Prisoner of War or Missing in Action with a vigil and ceremony. September 18th, 2015 was declared National POW/MIA Recognition Day. A tri-service color guard carried the American flag and the black and white POW/MIA flag out over the Old Main lawn to the flagpole. All uniformed service members saluted while these flags were raised to half staff.
During the ceremony, cadets and midshipmen read several stories of those Penn State alumni who were prisoners of war or missing in action in their time of service. A dress cover from each of the Armed Forces branches was placed at an empty seat at a special table during the ceremony to symbolize the fact that they couldn’t take their place back home. This was followed by a twenty-one gun salute and the playing of Taps.
This day to reflect on the sacrifices given by those who have gone before us in our nation’s military was a somber and reflective one. Civilians passing by stopped to observe the ceremony, which concluded with the posting of a guard in front of Old Main. The vigil lasted for twenty-four hours, and each hour shift was covered by a Penn State cadet or midshipman carrying a rifle.