Leave No Man Behind: Korean War Remains In Hawaii

Leave No Man Behind: Korean War Remains In Hawaii

Leave No Man Behind: Korean War Remains In Hawaii

Early afternoon Hawaii time, Vice President Mike Pence, family members of the fallen and the sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam welcomed home fifty-five bodies of those who died in the Korean War. In doing so for these heroes, we, as a nation, fulfilled our promise to “Leave No Man Behind.”

Did you watch the ceremony? I hope you got to see it. The ceremony was breathtaking in its complex simplicity. By that I mean, that the military personnel charged with maneuvering the fifty-five American flag-draped coffins must have drilled for hours to get that level of perfection, synchronization and effortlessness.

Remember that last we saw the remains, they were being delivered by the North Koreans to South Koreans under a promise made at the Singapore Summit by Kim Jong Un to President Donald Trump. Some of the NATO flag-draped coffins were small enough to be handled by one military personnel. After being processed in South Korea, the remains were placed in matching coffins with the flag of the United States of America and flown to Hawaii. Hawaii is where the laborious process of identifying the remains will begin under the aegis of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.

The ceremony at Pearl Harbor Hickam is called an “Honorable Carry” ceremony. It is fitting that Vice President Mike Pence was given the honor of speaking at the ceremony. His father, like mine, fought in that forgotten war. “Hawaii New Now” reported Pence’s remarks:

“Some have called the Korean War the forgotten war,” Pence said, in an address at the Honorable Carry Ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Today, we prove these heroes were never forgotten. Today, our boys are coming home.”

And that always bothered my late father, Sgt. Al Holt, Jr., USMC, Heavenly deployment 3/7/2016. It bothered him that 7,700 of his fellow warriors were forgotten. While progress was made in repatriating our Vietnam POWS/MIA, he saw no progress for those missing from his own war and no great cry for repatriation. We leave no man behind.

It wasn’t just the hymns like “Abide With Me” or the aching mourn of “Taps.” The site of the ceremony is so significant for our military personnel, our military culture and our nation as a whole.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field on December 7, 1941 was the event that finally drew the United States into World War II. Our nation built a monument at Pearl Harbor to honor those entombed there. Punch Bowl Crater, where so many of our World War II dead are buried, is an active ceremony for veterans today. Hawaii’s significance to our military personnel cannot be overstated. You can watch the entire ceremony here.

Watch this brief overview:

Did you know that “Abide With Me” was popular in the trenches of World War I? Did you see the faces of those young military personnel honored with carrying those coffins? Those young people represent the absolute best in us, as surely as did the remains of those they carried. We leave no man behind.

As “Hawaii News Now” reported:

Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, echoed those words.

“Missing and unaccounted for service members are entitled to one certainty: That they will never be forgotten,” he told attendees. “We honor them today as the very embodiment of the ideals of our nation.”

Amen. Today, Lt. Edward Pence, Jr. and Sgt. Al Holt, Jr. are happy and proud. Their brethren are forgotten no more. We leave no man behind.

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