Menomonee Falls - Sometimes silence is more powerful than words.
That sentiment will ring true on Sept. 22 in Menomonee Falls when veterans and military organizations pay tribute to prisoners of war and those missing in action by marching through the village in silence.
Every year, one of the 50 posts representing the Wisconsin American Legion 1st District hosts the silent march that is sponsored by District 1. For the first time since 1997, the march will be held in Menomonee Falls and coordinated by the Henrizi Schneider Post 382 beginning at 11 a.m. at North Middle School, W16750 Garfield Drive, heading west on Mill Street before turning left onto Garfield Drive and ending at the Veterans Memorial at Village Park. A ceremony in honor and remembrance of prisoners of war and missing in action will be held at that location.
The public is invited to join the march, as well as the ceremony.
"It's good for young and old to pay tribute to those that have served us and are not yet home safely," said Barb Waters, manager of the Menomonee Falls Business Improvement District. "I'm so pleased that District Number One selected Menomonee Falls to host this important march. Everyone should come and honor those families."
List of missing is long
The silent march is meant to represent all the servicemen and women who are unaccounted for as part of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day that is observed on the third Friday of September each year, said Tim Christensen, post commander of the Henrizi Schneider Post 382.
Representatives from all branches of military will participate in both the march and the ceremony.
As of July 2005, the Government Accountability Office listed 88,115 servicemen and women unaccounted for from World War II, Korean/Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and other conflicts.
During the ceremony, Christensen will read the names of 29 soldiers from Wisconsin who never returned home after the Vietnam War.
"As we read them, there will be a tolling of a bell and releasing of a balloon," he said. "We call off their name and branch of military they were in during this time of conflict. So if it says 'United States Marine Corps,' we have someone from the Marine Corps in their full uniform saluting the receiving officer."
Menomonee Falls Police Chief Anna Ruzinski will begin the ceremony by singing the national anthem.
The ceremony is meant to be an emotional experience honoring those men and women still missing, as well as their families.
Post welcomes participants
Everyone who participates in the event is welcome at the American Legion Post, W16652 Main St., for refreshments, camaraderie and fellowship following the ceremony.
Post 382 is also selling T-shirts that read "Menomonee Falls, Henrizi Schneider Post 382" on the front, with the names of the Wisconsin soldiers still missing after the Vietnam War listed on the back.
Those interested in a T-shirt or any military or scout groups interested in participating in the march should contact Christensen at (262) 251-2860.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Silent March honoring POWs/MIAs
WHEN: 11 a.m. Sept. 22
WHERE: North Middle School, W16750 Garfield Drive
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