Oroville Mercury Register
Sept 20, 2003
By Mary Weston
About 100 people let their candles shine in remembrance of friends and family members lost to war, on the steps of Veteran’s Memorial Hall Friday night at 7pm. “I don’t think this has ever been done before in Oroville, so maybe we’ll carry on the tradition,” said Stu Shaner, co-chair of the Veteran’s Memorial Committee.
For the first time, Oroville Residents participated in a ceremony in recognition and remembrance of soldiers taken as prisoners or missing in action in the wars, in conjunction with the national POW/MIA Recognition Day. Veterans, families of those missing in action, the VFW 1747 Women’s Auxiliary and the Veteran’s Memorial Committee organized and participated in the ceremony. Shaner said Joan Lee had come to him and asked if they could organize the ceremony. Stu started organizing the ceremony with the help of Joan and others. Lee’s brother Thomas Charles Van Campen, age 19, has been missing in action since June 24th 1965 in South Vietnam, province unknown. Lee read a piece about the symbolism of the Hope Candle brought to Washington from Michigan that was read at the first National POW/MIA Day in 1984. In 1984, former President Ronald Regan proclaimed July 20, as national P.O.W./M.I.A. Recognition Day.
The Oroville Veteran’s Memorial Committee imitated Friday night’s ceremony in conjunction with the national holiday. The ceremony included a Missing in Action Table set for the missing who can’t attend. Ted Granger gave the history of the table ceremony. “The table is round to show everlasting concern for our missing men,” Grangier said. The table also had a flag for all the branches of service and a P.O.W./M.I.A. flag. Larry and Frank Winters attended, burning a candle for their brother SSgt David Marshall Winters, an “MIA from the Vietnam War. 2nd Lt. James Harry Taylor of Oroville was also a Vietnam MIA. Also from Oroville, John Ryan is missing from World War II. Bill Connelly, co-chair of the Veterans Memorial Committee said the ceremony is also for the family of those missing in action. “For the families, there have been no graves to visit and no peace,” Connelly said. The city of Oroville and the Butte County Board of Supervisors drafted resolutions this year designating September 19, 2003 as POW/MIA Recognition day. More than 140,000 Americans since World War I have been prisoners of war, and more than 88,000 are still missing in action Shaner said. National POW/MIA Recognition Day 1984 By the President of the United States of America A proclamation. Ever Since the Revolutionary War, America’s men and women have heroically served their country in times of conflict. In each of America’s wars our prisoners of war have been required to make special sacrifices, serving their country under conditions of hardship. Their burden greatly increased when they were treated in violation of the fundamental standards of morality and international codes of conduct for the treatment of prisoners of war. Our P.O.W.’s and M.I.A.’s have earned a very special place in the hearts of Americans because of their selfless devotion to duty and unflinching courage. We must not forget or fail to honor those who have served their country so faithfully.
By Senate Joint Resolution 171, the Congress has designated July 20, 1984, as “National P.O.W./M.I.A. Recognition Day.”….Now. Therefore. I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Friday July 20th, 1984, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I call on all Americans to join in honoring all former American prisoners of war, those still missing, and their families who endure the uncommon sacrifices on behalf of this country. I also call upon the State and local officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 9th day of May, in the year of our lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eight Signed Ronald Regan.
Stu’s Notes – The date was later changed to the third Friday of September. I sure liked Mary Weston. She was there many a time when I needed a story on the Front Page, etc. She was a little scatter brained, but aren’t most writers? When I found the dangerous well she trooped out through the weeds and brambles to get the story. It woke up a few people and soon the danger to the local kids was taken care of. Hope to see my readers tonight, Let’s show the world that Oroville has Not Forgotten it’s Veterans, “Hero’s All.”
Happy Birthday, grand daughter, Emma, 5 years old today.