President's Corner - Rick Downes
Soldiers sent into battle face dire realities. One of these ends is the possibility that, like disappearing into a Stephen King fog, he or she will simply never be heard from again.
This kind of enigmatic loss ripples through generations of the man or woman’s family. There is no ending to their story. There is no grieving to begin healing. There is only uncertainty, longing, and an ever-present hope that he or she will return one day.
It is a wound that never heals.
No matter how much one tries to accept this kind of loss, a place in the heart simply needs to know what happened to someone that important in our lives. It is an essence of who we are as human beings. In a tragic way, all the missing soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines remain alive, simply because it’s not known how, or even if, they died.
This leaves generations of family members, who when asked what happened to such an important person in their life, can only answer, “We don’t know”. More than 7500 families from the Korean and Cold Wars live this life. They are still searching for answers. And they face a clock that keeps ticking. Too many have already passed without finding closure.
As a nation, we promised that their loved ones would never be left behind. They were. The same promise is made to the families of today’s soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines. If this promise is to hold credibility for present day servicemen and women, it must be honored to the finish for those who have gone before. There is much to do. Much that can still be done.
Thank you for joining with us.
Rick Downes, President
(Lt. Hal Downes, father, MIA North Korea 1/13/1952)