Approximately 83,000 U.S. military personnel are still listed as missing in action since World War II.
But a group of veterans’ organizations is determined they will not be forgotten.
Veterans in Defense of Liberty is coordinating a cross-country awareness campaign called the POW Flag 50 State Tour.
Representatives of veterans’ organizations in each state are participating in the nationwide ceremony.
That ceremony came to Leavenworth Monday when the flag was delivered to the First City of Kansas.
Floyd Hardin of Leavenworth received the flag from Terry Willey during a ceremony at the VFW Post 56 in downtown Leavenworth.
“This is pretty awesome,” said Hardin, a member of the VFW Post 56 Riders and the Patriot Guard Riders. “I am honored to do this kind of stuff.”
Willey, a veterans’ advocate now living in Springfield, Missouri, was born and raised in Leavenworth. He said it was an honor to return to his hometown and deliver the flag to his longtime friend Hardin.
“He has been my best friend for about 35 years,” Willey said. “So you can probably imagine the sense of pride I felt coming home and being able to give something of this magnitude to my best friend and be a part of my hometown once again. It was very emotional and humbling to say the least.”
Willey said Hardin was chosen as the representative for the state of Kansas because of “his ongoing dedication to the local veterans’ organizations and his patriotism.”
Willey said numerous motorcycle organizations are involved in coordinating the flag tour across the country.
The flag will fly on a flag pole behind the VFW Post 56 until Wednesday. It will then continue its journey when it is delivered to representatives in Colorado.
The 50-state tour began in Virginia and will go to each of the states.
The flag will ultimately be on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.