I'm Rolling to Remember Those Still Unaccounted For
Perspective piece courtesy AMVETS National Commander and Air Force veteran Jan Brown.
Last year we made the most of the inaugural Rolling to Remember ride. Here in D.C. we circled our nation’s monuments demanding accountability for our remaining missing in action and nationwide countless riders took the challenge to ride 22 miles.
We thank those who participated in sending a message not only to Congress but to the American people on our remaining missing in action and the veteran suicide crisis. Not only do we need to continue efforts of bringing deceased American heroes home, we need to bring to light a concerning statistic that an average of 22 veterans die by suicide daily. This is an alarming number of veterans that are either failed by our government or unable to find any sort of quality mental health care treatment suited to them after being under the assumption that America would fulfill the promises they made to these men and women that they would be cared for after signing an oath to serve our great nation. We owe them much more than they have received, and we will never cease advocacy regarding such.
In 2019 AMVETS leadership travelled to Hawaii. We visited the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), where remains of Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen dating back to World War 1 are collected, examined, and sent to be laid to their final resting place by that service member’s closest living relatives.
Reuniting these lost heroes with their families can be one of the more challenging, yet rewarding, parts of DPAA’s mission. Staff members were able to recall stories of wives being reunited with their husbands, sons and daughters reunited with their fathers. Through DPAA, families are able to receive closure after years of uncertainty and lost hope.
To say that the work done to bring home and identify our missing service members is special would be an understatement. The staff for DPAA have a sense of mission, and the sentiment that these service members are indeed people and not just artifacts is never lost on me. Those bones on a lab table at DPAA headquarters belonged to someone’s father, brother, uncle, husband, grandfather, or dear friend.
The United States is one of the few countries that recovers the remains of the fallen. We bring people home. That needs to continue.
This Memorial Day weekend, this will be my message to Congress: it’s not over until we account for as many of our missing as humanly possible. In some form or fashion, many of us will round the Capitol Building this May demanding continued action for our POW/MIAs. If you would like to ride with us, learn more about the weekend events, or receive updates on the weekend plan of action, register today and we’ll see you in May.