On the eve of National Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Day, Fort Hamilton honored about a half dozen local, former POWs from World War II and the Korean War at a ceremony in the fort community center’s Jackson Room on Thursday, September 19.
Guest speakers included Harold Radish, a World War II veteran and POW, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Michael Stinnett. Radish talked about his experiences as a POW during the war.
Bruce Hill, a spokesperson for the base, explained to this paper that this year’s ceremony was different from previous ones.
Unlike in years past, the ceremony was held indoors, instead of being held outside in tandem with the Retreat ceremony, which signifies the end of the military day.
Joint services guards presented colors and Staten Islander Marissa Pontecorvo sang the National Anthem.
“We had a traditional and symbolic missing man table where each item on the table is represented in some way, shape or form, like the plate, glass, candle and flower,” Hill explained, adding that the empty table setting signifies the memory of a missing or fallen soldier.
A POW/MIA flag was presented by Colonel Eluyn Gines, garrison commander of the Fort Hamilton Army Base, to Radish, who Hill said unexpectedly gave it to his colleagues.
The ceremony concluded with a soldier bugling taps and Pontecorvo singing “God Bless America.”