Barksdale Hosts Veterans and Families at Luncheon
About 500 military veterans and their family members were honored at the 36th Annual Veterans Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Purple Heart Luncheon at Barksdale Air Force Base.
The luncheon paid special tribute to the men and women who served in World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. The guest speaker was retired Army General Charles “Hondo” Campbell, 17th Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command. He spoke passionately about the service of veterans.
“Veterans from our nation’s wars don’t seek accolades,” Gen. Campbell said. “They don’t even seek thanks. It is enough for veterans to have served. It is sufficient for veterans to have had the kinships that we shared in the tough and heartless crucible of war.”
The “National Anthem” and “God Bless America” were sung by Stacy Lee, and colors were presented by the Barksdale Air Force Base Honor Guard. The Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band played music during the ceremony along with a medley of the U.S. Service Songs. A special MIA/POW table was displayed to recognize those service members who could not be present.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. George Finck was the master of ceremonies for the luncheon that included service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. All service members formed the Parade of Heroes from the war in which they served as the Base Honor Guard displayed the Arch of Sabers.
Col. Leland Bohannon, Vice Commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale, recognized the family of Capt. Carl Jackson, Air Force pilot from Vietnam still MIA, and the importance of always remembering men and women who are missing in action or prisoners of war.
Gen. Campbell concluded the luncheon with a special thanks to all military veterans and their families.
“To all of you…those who have served and those who have supported those who have served, I thank you,” he said. “Your nation is grateful. May God bless the American Soldier, the American Sailor, the American Airman and the American Marine, past and present. May God bless all those who support them. May God continue to bless the United States of America.”