For 24 years, they've gathered weekly for POWs/MIAs
MEREDITH — Hundreds of veterans, motorcyclists, and veterans' motorcycle groups gathered at Hesky Park Thursday night for a weekly POW/MIA Vigil, marking the 24th year of the event.
On hand were many VIPs, including Gov. John Lynch and several state legislators, as well as four former prisoners of war. The vigil is held to honor soldiers who are missing in action or are prisoners of war.
Retired U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers, a champion of the POW/MIA movement, was a guest, as were members of the Rolling Thunder biker group, whose members ride to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., every year.
Lynch and state Sen. Jeanie Forrester made speeches formally dedicating the newly designated POW/MIA Vigil-Freedom Ride Bridge on Route 104 near the center of town.
Forrester praised Bob Jones, a local POW/MIA activist and one of the vigil's founders, and the other veterans who have kept the vigils going every Thursday night for 24 years.
“Meredith has become a guiding light” for the POW/MIA cause, Forrester said in naming the bridge.
Jones, introducing Lynch, praised the governor for his efforts to help the POW/MIA movement.
“This governor could have just done nothing for us like so many other (politicians),” Jones said. “This governor was different.”
Lynch praised the POW/MIA group, and gave a statement of support.
“To our veterans in New Hampshire, let me assure you that just as you were there for us, we will be there for you,” he said to loud applause.
“We can't even imagine what you went through as POWs,” he said, looking at the four prisoners of war in attendance. “Let us commit ourselves to always, always, always remember our prisoners of war and those missing in action.”
Several speakers reminded those attending that America has a prisoner of war still being held in Afghanistan.
Jones reminded the crowd that Sgt. Bowe Berghal has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009.
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