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Until they all come home: POW/MIAs remembered

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, speaks during the 2014 POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. During her speech she said, today, we reaffirm that sacred pledge: ‘You are not forgotten’ and we voice an entire nation’s unending support and our undying promise, that no matter how long it takes, no matter what it takes, we will not stop until we have brought every American home. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, speaks during the 2014 POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. During her speech she said, today, we reaffirm that sacred pledge: ‘You are not forgotten’ and we voice an entire nation’s unending support and our undying promise, that no matter how long it takes, no matter what it takes, we will not stop until we have brought every American home. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Members of Team Patrick-Cape salute the American flag and the POW/MIA flag, during the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Aside from Old Glory, the POW/MIA flag is the only flag that has flown above the White House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Members of Team Patrick-Cape salute the American flag and the POW/MIA flag, during the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014, at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Aside from Old Glory, the POW/MIA flag is the only flag that has flown above the White House. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

POW-MIA flag. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

POW-MIA flag. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Senior Master Sgt. Keith Long, 45th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent and the ceremony’s emcee, addresses Team Patrick-Cape during the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Members of Team Patrick-Cape attended a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Senior Master Sgt. Keith Long, 45th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent and the ceremony’s emcee, addresses Team Patrick-Cape during the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Members of Team Patrick-Cape attended a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Col. Thomas Falzarano, 45th Operations Group commander, (left), and members of Team Patrick-Cape, stand at ease prior to the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Each year, the president issues a proclamation honoring and recognizing the sacrifices of America’s POWs and MIAs, both those returned and those still missing, and their families, designating the third Friday in September as national POW/MIA recognition day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Col. Thomas Falzarano, 45th Operations Group commander, (left), and members of Team Patrick-Cape, stand at ease prior to the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, Sept. 19, 2014 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Each year, the president issues a proclamation honoring and recognizing the sacrifices of America’s POWs and MIAs, both those returned and those still missing, and their families, designating the third Friday in September as national POW/MIA recognition day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Chaplain (Capt.) Richard “Scott” Savell, 45th Space Wing, opened the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony with an invocation, Sept. 19, 2014 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Since the 2013 National POW/MIA Recognition Day, six Airmen previously unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War were brought home to their families, but there is still much work to be done. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

Chaplain (Capt.) Richard “Scott” Savell, 45th Space Wing, opened the POW/MIA remembrance ceremony with an invocation, Sept. 19, 2014 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Since the 2013 National POW/MIA Recognition Day, six Airmen previously unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War were brought home to their families, but there is still much work to be done. (U.S. Air Force photo/Matthew Jurgens/Released)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Members of Team Patrick-Cape attended a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, Sept. 19, 2014, at the Patrick Air Force Base Memorial Flag Plaza. 

The ceremony opened with an invocation given by Chaplain (Capt.) Richard "Scott" Savell, 45th Space Wing, and was followed by remarks from the ceremony's emcee, Senior Master Sgt. Keith Long, 45th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. 

"Each year, the president issues a proclamation honoring and recognizing the sacrifices of America's POWs and MIAs, both those returned and those still missing, and their families, designating the third Friday in September as national POW/MIA recognition day," Long said.

The remembrance pays tribute to the thousands who have been held as prisoners of war, or whose fate has not been resolved, Long added.

"We also honor the family members who share in the tremendous sacrifice made by our military members for this grateful nation," Long said. "Their loss is perhaps even more profound because of their uncertain lives, their inability to learn the true fate of their loved one - their inability to come to a final resolution."

Following the Long's comments, Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, 45th Space Wing commander, shared her remarks with Team Patrick-Cape.

She said, 40 years ago, during the Vietnam War, it was the wife of a missing service member, a young woman named Mary Hoff, who realized that a symbol was needed to remind us of his dilemma and to remind us of all our service members who were missing or suffering at the hands of foreign captors. She developed the idea of a flag, with a haunting image designed by a World War II pilot that would eventually become a national emblem.

"Today, we reaffirm that sacred pledge: 'You are not forgotten,'" Armagno said. "We voice an entire nation's unending support and our undying promise, that no matter how long it takes, no matter what it takes, we will not stop until we have brought every American home. We pledge that we leave no one behind.

"Over the years, progress has been made in these efforts," Armagno said. "The remains of 98 missing American service members have been identified in the past year--25 from the Vietnam War, 36 from the Korean War, 36 from World War II, and one from World War I. That's 98 more families who now have closure, and the knowledge that their nation did not forget them and did not let the passage of time dampen our resolve to locate and identify their loved ones.

"This morning, we gather here, and again call for their release and reiterate our commitment to bring all missing Americans home," Armagno added. "That commitment, simple yet sacred, is fundamental to the values of our nation and, in turn, to our military."

Aside from Old Glory, the POW/MIA flag is the only flag that has flown above the White House, Armagno said.

"...As we raise the POW/MIA flag in communities across America, we pledge to live by its creed, 'You are not forgotten,' not only today, but every day for as this day forth, the POW/MIA flag will always remain flying above us here at Team Patrick-Cape to remind us of its creed," the general said.

The POW/MIA flag and the American flag were both raised, concluding the remembrance ceremony.

In addition to the remembrance ceremony, Team Patrick-Cape honored POW/MIAs by participating in 5K Warrior Run, prior to the ceremony.