Teamwork ~ Leadership ~ Commitment
As yesterday's defenders of freedom, we want to welcome today's military service members into our ranks to become part of our elite group.  Our common bond is the battlefield, whether it is service in the Persian Gulf, Korea, Kosovo, the war on terrorism or peace-keeping expeditionary campaigns. Your courage and sacrifice have made a difference in preserving and defending world peace.


That the purpose of this Corporation shall be fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, and educational: to preserve and strengthen comradeship among its members; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead; and to assist their widows and orphans; to maintain true allegiance to the Government of the United States of America, and fidelity to its Constitution and laws; to foster true patriotism; to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies.


2021 National POW/MIA Recognition Day

   Thank you for joining us on National POW/MIA Recognition Day. No matter where and how we’re gathering today, I am honored to join you in saluting the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our nation. 

   Today, on POW/MIA Recognition Day, we not only honor our fallen brothers and sisters-in-arms, we salute the families of the missing who continue to hope and pray that their loved ones will one day return home from their wars.   

   Today there are more than 81,600 Americans listed as missing and unaccounted-for from our nation’s wars going back to the beginning of World War II.  

   That’s more than 81,600 military and civilian men and women … mothers and fathers … brothers and sisters … and sons and daughters …who have yet to return home. A number so large that it exceeds the population of many small towns in America. 

   Now, add to that number their surviving parents and spouses, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and you have a huge population of fellow Americans who continue to grieve in silence every day. While the wars and conflicts we waged may have ended … theirs, sadly, has not. 

   Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot walk in their shoes, but we can reassure them that veterans’ organizations like the VFW will NEVER rest until our nation has achieved the fullest possible accounting of all of our missing. 

   It’s true that the costs of war extend far beyond the last shot fired, and for the families of our missing, the passage of time does not heal their wounds. For them, the days became weeks, and the weeks became months, then years, and now, sadly, decades.

   I cannot imagine the daily loss I would feel if my mother or father had gone to war and didn’t return. I cannot imagine reliving the moment the government couldn’t tell me if my brother or sister was alive or dead. And I cannot imagine my emotions if that missing person was my son or my daughter.

   This, ladies and gentlemen, is what our POW-MIA families live with … day in and day out. They want answers to questions where there may be none or are slow in coming. 

   They are not asking unreasonable questions, nor do the families have different agendas. All they want to know is what happened to their loved one. That is not too much for them to ask, and that is not too much for our government to answer, or for other governments to help us answer.

   America performs humanitarian missions all around this world, yet the full accounting mission is the only humanitarian mission our government performs solely for the benefit of fellow Americans. 


   Their work is extremely difficult and dangerous, yet they perform each investigation and recovery operation with a solemn pledge to return a fellow American home to a waiting family. 

   The VFW stands beside these families who continue to burn that candle of hope, and we’re the only veterans’ service organization whose leaders, since 1991, have made an annual visit to Southeast Asia to meet with U.S. and host government officials to discuss and stress the importance of the full accounting mission. 

   People who put others before themselves is the story of America … the America that rose to greatness on the shoulders of ordinary citizens who refused to shirk the responsibility of citizenship … some of whom paid the highest price to preserve peace and freedom for others to enjoy.

   America has risen to greatness on the shoulders of ordinary citizens who refused to skirt the responsibility of citizenship … and who selflessly paid the highest price to preserve peace and freedom. 

   They didn’t serve for fame or glory, and they certainly don’t do it for the money. They marched on because the person in front – and the person behind and to their flanks – continued to march. They marched on because they know they have each other’s back. 

   The full accounting mission is a promise to those who serve that we … your grateful nation … has your back, too. 

   In closing, let us leave here today remaining strong in our devotion to the principles for which so many courageously fought and sacrificed.

   Let us remember those who put country before self and did not return home to their families. Let us remember the families of the missing who continue to burn the candle of hope.
   And let us continue to tell America the story that without the service and sacrifice of the American serviceman and woman, there would be no United States of America.


With Respect To You All,


Dale Cloutier

Sr. Vice Commander