Penn State Honors Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action Service Members at Annual Remembrance Ceremony

Story posted September 23, 2021 in CommRadio, News by Lizzie Friel

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State had the honor of hosting its annual Prisoner of War/Missing in Action remembrance ceremony on Old Main Lawn on Friday, Sept. 17. The University Park campus fittingly hosted the ceremony on National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The event invited military veterans and service member’s families to attend, and was also free for the public to attend.

The vigil included an opening ceremony with speakers to tell the stories of those who left home to serve, but never returned, as well as a performance of taps, a performance by the Wild Blue Yonders, the Penn State Air Force ROTC a capella group and a 21-gun salute by the members of The American Legion.

Later on, the missing man table ceremony displayed the remembrance of those who served, but tragically never came home. Guards of honor and ROTC cadets then guarded the table for 24 hours after the start of the event, from 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon into Saturday.

Penn State Air Force ROTC Senior Cadet and organizer of the event, Luke Juriga, tells us what this event means to Penn State.

“Penn State ROTC as a joint service has done this event for over 35 years, it has been a part of our history as a University,” Cadet Juriga said. “It is very important that we continue to mark this occasion of POW/MIA remembrance, for all those who are not able to be here with their families today.”

The ceremony was originally started by Penn State Vietnam veterans to remember those who were captured as POW, or went missing in combat. This remembrance is now hosted annually by the Harry R. Armstrong Squadron, Penn State Air Force ROTC's chapter of the Arnold Air Society.

At Friday's ceremony, more than 150 cadets and midshipmen from the Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC programs saluted as the American flag was lowered to half-staff and the POW/MIA flag was raised to half-staff, honoring those who remain unaccounted for.


Lizzie Friel is a fourth-year majoring in digital/print journalism. To contact her, email