Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) reminds Hudson Valley residents that this Friday, September 19, 2008, is POW/MIA Recognition Day in New York State and asks for all to display the American Flag that day in their honor.
Since World War I, more than 142,000 Americans, including 85 women, have been captured and interned as POWs. Not included in this figure are nearly 93,000 Americans who were lost or never recovered.
"Please take a moment to recognize the thousands of Americans who have been prisoners of war and others whose fates have never been resolved by flying the American Flag this Friday," said Senator Larkin. "We honor those who fought bravely, were captured and treated with cruelty and brutality. And we honor the heroes who were lost in the chaos of battle and especially their families whose grief is made that much worse because of the inability to determine what happened to their loved ones."
At the end of the Vietnam War, there reportedly were 2,583 unaccounted for American prisoners, missing or killed in action, their bodies not recovered. Today, 1,812 Americans are still so listed by the Defense Department. Among the unaccounted for are 124 from New York State.
The VA health care system offers priority treatment for former POWs. Those who have a service–connected disability are eligible for VA health care. This includes hospital, nursing home, and outpatient treatment. Former POWs who do not have a service-connected disability are eligible for VA hospital and nursing home care – without regard to their ability to pay. They are also eligible for outpatient care on a priority basis. Former POWs can apply for compensation for their service-connected injuries, diseases, or illnesses by completing VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. They can also apply online at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp  Other benefits for Former POWs and their dependents/survivors are also available.
Each VA regional office has a coordinator for former POWs. Any former POW who needs special assistance should ask to speak to the Former POW Coordinator. Additional former POW information is available at http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/POW/index.htm .