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October 10, 2003
From National League of POW/MIA Families Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony
As you entered the area tonight you may have noticed a table at the front, raised to call your attention to its purpose - it is reserved to honor our missing loved comrades. Set for six, the empty places represent our men missing from each of the five services - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard - and civilians. This Honors Ceremony symbolizes that they are with us, here in spirit. Some here tonight were very young when the Vietnam War began, however, all Americans should never forget our brave men and women who answered our nation's call and served the cause of freedom in a special way. As the Honor Guard places one of the five service covers or a civilian cap on each empty plate, I would like to ask you to consider their sacrifices, followed by a moment of silent prayer. I would like to explain the meaning of the items on this special table. The table is round - to show our everlasting concern for our men still missing. The cloth is white - symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty. The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answered. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God. The glass is inverted - to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast. The chairs are empty - they are missing. Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America's POW/MIA's and to the success of our efforts to account for them.

Oroville Mercury Register, September 28, 1944, March 22, 1945 and April 13, 1945

Kingman, Ariz. - Recent graduate of the Kingman Army Air Field flexible gunnery school, was 21 year-old Pfc. Melvin L. Rowe, son of Roy N. Rowe of Bangor, Calif. Pfc. Rowe entered the army at Fresno Feb. 8, 1943. He attended Oroville Union High School.

Corporal Melvin L. Rowe, 22 of Oroville, an aerial engineer on a B-17 Flying Fortress, is now stationed with a 15th army air force in Italy. The giant bombers of the fifteenth are now engaged in bombing both tactical and strategic enemy targets and installations in Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Italy, Austria and Germany. Their precision bombing has eliminated many of the enemy's much needed oil refineries and seriously crippled many others. In addition their blows have materially aided the sensational Russian advance.

ROWE, CPL. MELVIN L. of Bangor MIA over Austria, He has a wife and 9 month old son. Melvin is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Rowe of Bangor. He is an Aerial engineer on a B 17, 15th Air Force Base Italy, began overseas duty Feb. 20, 1945. He has two brothers in the service, Jack and Gene.

Stu's notes: For a long time, two years, I had Melvin Rowe on my list as MIA but recently I talked to Merle Johnson, Oroville High Class of 1948 and a veteran of the Air Force. He told me that Melvin was never found and that his brother, Jack had just died last year. Also that a stepson had died in Vietnam. There was less than a month to go in the War in Europe. So very sad