Western Technical College hosts POW/MIA recognition ceremony

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:31 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - National POW/MIA Recognition Day honors American soldiers who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. Western Technical College held a ceremony for prisoners of war and those missing in action. The ceremony included remarks by Tomah VA Medical Center Director Karen Long and Western Technical College president Roger Stanford. All in attendance also observed a moment of silence for all POW/MIA Veterans throughout American history.

“This is our first year of this ceremony. We did dedicate this memorial two years ago with Mr. Weber and his family. But this is the first time working together with the Tomah VA to honor POWs and MIA,” says Western Technical College President, Roger Stanford.

President Stanford explains how it is important that everyone honors this day of recognition.

“I think every citizen should have a great understanding of our veterans, the life of a veteran, and certainly the plight of so many of our veterans. Those that have been missing, we should honor that. Those that have been POWs is the ultimate sacrifice to give. So just understanding to be a citizen in our country what it takes to get and keep our freedoms,” says Stanford. “That’s why our memorial says freedom is not free. But we also are a college that serves more veterans than any of the other technical colleges. Because of our proximity to military locations next door. We’re very proud to serve almost a thousand military connected families every year.”

The memorial is dedicated to Donald P. Weber, a POW in World War II. His son, Don Weber, served in Vietnam and he wanted to work with the school to help raise awareness for veterans.

“When Mr. Weber made the gift for us to build a veterans center, we worked on a fundraising campaign without asking him for dollars. We dedicate it to his father, who was a POW, But we wanted something at the center of the campus to be a lasting memorial for those that served. The opportunity presented itself when we put it here. It is the center where literally thousands of our students walk by and can see,” says Stanford.

The memorial was originally built in 2020 and the school plans on having a ceremony for POWs and MIAs annually.