BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- On Friday, Sept. 18, 10 large POW/MIA Memorial Highway signs will be dedicated in public ceremonies in six cities located along the new 471-mile POW/MIA Memorial Highway across Oregon on U.S. Highway 26 between Seaside and Vale.
A sign will be dedicated at the Friendship Park at Madras City Hall at 10 a.m. Another sign will be dedicated at the POW/MIA Memorial in Ochoco Creek Park in Prineville at 2 p.m. The names of POWs and MIAs associated with Madras and Prineville will be read at those events.
Sept. 18 is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, honoring our nation’s POWs, MIAs and their families.
The new POW/MIA Memorial Highway is the result of the non-profit Bend Heroes Foundation request made to Central Oregon legislators on Memorial Day of 2019.
The purpose of the POW/MIA Memorial Highway is to honor Oregon’s 920 Prisoners of War – 785 veterans and 135 Civilians of whom almost 200 died in captivity and 999 Oregonians (998 Veterans, 1 Civilian) who still remain Missing in Action and declared dead from WWI to the present, educate the traveling public and let the families of POWs and MIAs know Oregon supports their hopes and prayers for the return of their loved one’s remains.
Gov. Kate Brown’s POW/MIA Recognition Day proclamation, drafted by the Bend Heroes Foundation, will be read at the ceremonies, with copies given to POW/MIA families.
The Bend Heroes Foundation and its partners raised almost $20,000 to pay the Oregon Department of Transportation to fabricate and install the 10 signs near Seaside, Boring, Madras, Prineville, John Day and Vale.
Families of POWs and MIAs, state legislators, city and county officials, donors and the public are invited to these free of charge public ceremonies. All are invited to bring names and photos of POWs and MIAs.
The POW/MIA Memorial Highway is the eighth and final border-to-border veterans’ highway initiated by the Bend Heroes Foundation honoring nearly one-half million veterans from Oregon who served during five major wars: WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
Almost 6,000 veterans made the supreme sacrifice, about 15,000 were wounded, over 900 became Prisoners of War and almost 1,000 still remain Missing in Action or unaccounted for. Thirty veterans connected with Oregon received the Medal of Honor.