POWs, MIAs are honored at display in Niles park
NILES — Prisoners of war and military members still missing were remembered with an annual 24-hour display set up by local veterans at Circle Park in Niles.
Bill Weiser of Negley, one of the event organizers, said the POW / MIA Recognition Day remembers those who never came home and those who are still missing.
The display included silhouettes of soldiers, flags, military memorabilia and a large cage in the center with local veterans taking turns sitting inside.
”We are here for 24 hours and take turns sitting inside the cage. This cage is much larger to our scale then what prisoners of war had to be inside,” Weiser said.
He said the display drew attention from people, including Vietnam veterans who came up to talk with them about what they did serving their country.
Weiser said the day is designed to raise awareness of POWs and MIAs who may still be alive. Weiser, who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970, said many Vietnam veterans if still alive would be in their 70s.
This is the ninth year the event has been held in Niles, with it previously being held in Youngstown and Austintown.
”We want to get the message across to remember the veterans and those who may still be trapped,” Weiser said.
Veteran Robert Marino of Niles said keeping the POWs and MIAs in memory is very important. He said while many were killed in wars, after World War II there were 72,000 MIAs — most from drowning when the ships they were on were sunk.
”So many of them died when the ships they were serving on went down,” he said.