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Contact: Jody Mays, 229-924-0343 ext. 115
Release Date: August 25, 2017
Contacts: Jody Mays, firstname.lastname@example.org, 229-924-0343, ext. 115
National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Annual Convocation, WWII POW speaker, and Avenue of Flags to honor POWs and MIAs
ANDERSONVILLE, Georgia – National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day is Friday, September 15, 2017. In honor of that day, the National Park Service, The Ride Home, the Friends of Andersonville, and Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will present special programs on Wednesday, September 13, and Friday, September 15.
The 2017 National POW/MIA Convocation will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 13 in the Storm Dome on the campus of Georgia Southwestern State University. The public is invited to this free program. Featured speaker Mindy Kotler, Director of Asia Policy Point, will present “From Torture to Triumph: The 70-Year Quest for Justice of American POWs of Japan.”
How American POWs of Japan went from torture to triumph: The History of their 70 year quest for justice
On Veterans Day 2008, Bataan Death March survivor Lester Tenney sat down with the Japanese Ambassador to Japan Ichiro Fujisaki. This delicately arranged meeting at the Ambassador’s private residence was this former POW of Japan’s first opportunity to air to a Japanese government official his grievances for the abuse he received as a POW and slave laborer. The dialogue resulted in 2009 in Japan offering an official apology to all POWs of Imperial Japan that the Ambassador delivered to the last annual convention of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor. The following year an annual trip of remembrance and reconciliation to Japan was initiated to American former POWs of Japan. Ms. Kotler will discuss the history of this personal diplomacy.
MINDY KOTLER is founder and director of Asia Policy Point, a membership nonprofit research center in Washington, DC studying the intersection of history and regional security in Northeast Asia. APP assists researchers and policy organizations in researching and disseminating their work in Washington. Ms. Kotler is editor-in-chief of the Asia Policy Calendar, a weekly electronic newsletter previewing the news, resources, and programs concerning US relations with Asia and the Japan Brief: Weekly News from Japan. She works closely with members of Congress on issues of history and foreign policy with Japan. Ms. Kotler is the volunteer Washington liaison for the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society. She is the great grandniece through marriage of Fletcher Wood, Yale ’07, US Army Corps of Engineers, Corregidor, died January 21, 1945 Bilibid Prison, Manila, The Philippines. She helps draft the organization’s congressional testimony, letters to the Administration, and coordinate POW reconciliation trips to Washington. In April 2015, she arranged for a POW of Japan from California, Lester Tenney, to attend Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s address to Congress and his gala dinner. Mr. Abe and his wife met with Dr. Tenney at the dinner. Ms. Kotler received her Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Yale University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and History with High Honors in Chinese History from Smith College.
Dr. Mallett spent three years as a research historian for the former Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has a B.A. in History and Political Science from Culver-Stockton College, Missouri; an M.A. in History and an M.A. in Education from Truman State University, Missouri; and a Ph.D. in History from Texas A&M University. His fifteen years’ teaching experience has ranged from high school to state universities to the professional military education system. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Gordon, Georgia. Dr. Mallett’s research focuses on World War II, the early Cold War, and prisoners of war.
The annual Convocation begins four days of area events in recognition of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The Avenue of Flags, a stirring spectacle of over 200 full-sized flags, will be on display at Andersonville National Historic Site until September 19 and will feature POW/MIA flags as well as American and state flags. The Ride Home, a nonprofit organization, will host several ceremonies on the campus of GSW to remember military service members still listed as MIA and to honor former POWs.
At 9 a.m. on Friday, September 16, The Ride Home and Andersonville National Historic Site will conduct a special ceremony at the park’s National Prisoner of War Museum. Former POWs, MIA family members, and the public will gather to remember and honor POWs and MIAs. Jill Hubbs, daughter of Commander Donald R. Hubbs, MIA since 1968, will speak about her father and others who are still MIA. Former POW Donald Peppers will share his story of the 1968 capture of the USS Pueblo by Korea and the crew’s 11-month imprisonment. Other former members of the USS Pueblo crew will also be in attendance. A plaque honoring the USS Pueblo crew will be dedicated at the National Prisoner of War Museum.
“Andersonville National Historic Site is the only National Park site dedicated as a memorial to all American prisoners of war throughout history,” said Superintendent Charles Sellars. “Partnering with The Ride Home and GSW to honor POWs and MIAs in September is one of our most important annual events. We are deeply honored to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”
For information about the Convocation or USS Pueblo Ceremony, please contact Andersonville National Historic Site. For information on all events occurring as part of The Ride Home 2016, please check their website at theridehome.com.
Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, GA and 10 miles northeast of Americus, GA on Georgia Highway 49. The national park features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter. Andersonville National Historic Site is the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war. Park grounds are open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with the museum open from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the park, call 229 924-0343, visit on the web at www.nps.gov/ande/, or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/AndersonvilleNPS
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.