NAS Holds POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony

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Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss. It was a time of remembrance this morning as servicemen and women aboard Naval Air Station Meridian and guests honored and remembered those taken as Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. The special service was part of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, where people all over the country did the same as those at NAS. The guest speaker, Retired Air Force Colonel Keith Lewis, was forced to eject over Vietnam and spent 176 days as a POW. He says while times were hard, he never gave up hope.

"It's more thoughts than feelings. Yeah, we were going to come home. They were going to come after us. A lot of the feeling aspect came from the religious aspect. I knew the Lord was going to take care of me no matter what."

After being released during Operation Homecoming in March of 1973, Lewis attended seminary, and spent the rest of his Air Force career as a Chaplain. As an aviator, POW, and military chaplain, he believes this day is very important.

"It's an opportunity to let other people know some of the sacrifices other people went through. I'm not trying to build Keith Lewis up. I'm trying to say what God has done for me and other people, and how important that is in their lives."

Lewis also says that the situation can often times be worse on the soldier's loved ones, than the soldier them self. His message to those with friends or families that are POWs or MIA is to stay strong.

"I knew I was alive. My wife didn't until after the treaty was signed, so the psychological pressures are horrendous. It is those unknown things that are probably the worst in a person's life."