Dubuque American Legion honors MIA veterans, POWs

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The third Friday of September annually marks National POW and MIA Recognition day, honoring veterans who were prisoners of war, veterans missing in action, and their families.

Organizers said the inspiration of one local veteran missing in action, made it a priority to honor all veterans.

At American Legion Post #6 in Dubuque, there was standing room only as people gathered to honor missing veterans and their families. Multiple people spoke about their experiences and their family experiences among a room full of veterans.

Organizers said they were inspired after remains were found of a Dubuque and Tri-State war hero- Father Aloysious H. Schmidt. Father Schmidt is well known in the area for his heroism at Pearl Harbor. After his remains were found, this American Legion post in Dubuque made a point to send a clear message to everyone.

"Don't give up hope," said Gary Kircher, a Past Commander for the American Legion Post #6. "Father Schmidt 75 years, this gentleman 75 years, there's going to be closure some day. Hopefully it will be in our lifetime and we see that somebody that's in our family, our friends, relatives, that we actually have some closure that they found out."

Kircher said he made a promise to veterans and their families to continue to hold this ceremony every year from now on.

Organizers say it's important they show support for these families and these veterans, and finding the remains of Father Schmidt keeps their hope strong.