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Weekly Column: Let's Bring Them All Home

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Through a recent Congressional Record Statement, I had the opportunity to honor America’s prisoners of war (POW)s and missing in action (MIA), recognize the commendable efforts of those keeping attention on our missing servicemembers and thank those who are working hard to bring our missing servicemembers home.  The loved ones of missing servicemembers deserve resolution.  We can never let up in this American responsibility. 

The following is the text of the Congressional Record Statement:

Mr. President, I rise today to recognize National POW/MIA Day and honor the servicemembers who have not yet made it home.  We can never give up in bringing them home and getting answers for their loved ones who await their return. 

I commend those who work during this national recognition each September and throughout the year to raise awareness about the continued need to return our missing servicemembers.  This includes members of the POW*MIA Awareness Rally Corp. of Pocatello, Idaho, who hold rallies and other events to keep a spotlight on the immense service of our nation’s veterans. 

Also, thank you to those who are working hard to bring all of our servicemembers home.  The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, which is the organization primarily responsible for coordinating and conducting research and recovery efforts for POW and MIA soldiers, reports that more than 82,000 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars and other conflicts.  This includes 355 remaining POW and MIA veterans from Idaho.  So far this month, the agency has reported accounting for 18 missing servicemembers, most of whom were lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  This work of identifying and returning our servicemembers is no doubt painstaking, but imperative.  Until we account for all our missing and bring each of these Americans home, wounds remain unhealed.   

I pray that all of the families and friends of missing servicemembers experience the long-awaited return of their loved ones.  May all those who serve our nation feel how grateful we are for their security of the blessings of our liberty.  Let’s bring them all home.  

I am a co-sponsor of S.Res. 61 introduced last year by late-Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) calling on the U.S. Department of Defense, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and other federal agencies to prioritize efforts to identify and recover unaccounted American military personnel.  I also co-sponsored S. 120, the Bring Our Heroes Home Act, that is meant to address obstacles preventing families and caseworkers from accessing the records needed for recovery efforts by putting one entity in charge of prioritizing and facilitating the declassification of records related to missing servicemembers.

We must fulfill our duty as Americans to those who have defended our liberties and the families who have waited decades for answers.  The return of our missing servicemembers must forever be a national priority until all those who have served make it home.    

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