POW's and MIA's Honored at Walla Walla Ceremony - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

POW's and MIA's Honored at Walla Walla Ceremony

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. - The third Friday of each September is set aside by Americans to honor a certain group of veterans. They are our nation's prisoners of war and those missing in action. 

What better place for a ceremony than Walla Walla. The VA's namesake there is General Jonathan M. Wainwright. He was a World War II POW. 

On hand at the ceremony was Ray Servatius. He was captured during the Korean War.

"It sounded like a .22 bullet going through a tin can," Servatius described his plane being hit by enemy fire during his 60th mission directing fighter strikes. 

The plane went down and Servatius found himself injured, alone and unsure of where he was. However, he happened upon an American infantry sergeant.

"He said, I've come out to help you, but keep your head down, there's Chinese all around us. Pretty soon, a bunch of them jumped up, they killed him and took me prisoner," Servatius said.

He then described the horrific conditions and tragic events he endured for months. But, he stayed strong.

"During the whole deal, I was never scared. I was just nothing," Servatius said.

"They typically say three things helped them through the ordeal: faith in God, faith in their country and faith in each other," said former POW advocate Gene Doltolo.

It was 60 years ago on Thursday that Servatius came home. Friday's event was the first of it's kind he's attended. 

The national day of recognition isn't just for people like him, though. It's also for this still missing in action.

"I think the hardest part is on the families that are waiting at home with the uncertainty of not knowing where their relatives are," said AMVETS Post 1111 Cmdr., Larry Cunnington.

While thousands are still MIA, thanks to advanced technology and cooperation from other nations, more remains are being recovered each year. 

America has one known prisoner of war at this time, U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, from Idaho, was declared captured in July of 2009.
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