Throughout history, soldiers and bystanders get caught in the mix of conflicts that lead to their incarceration as prisoners of war. As wars grew bloodier, protections for POWs were legitimated. Today is dedicated to remembering POWs’ lives.
“We remember our soldiers who have been held as prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action,” Republican Representative Dan Caulkins wrote on Facebook. “Thank you for your service. You are not forgotten.”
However, even in the 21st century, POWs are still facing harsh abuse. The Human Rights Watch reported that Azerbaijani forces abused Armenian POWs during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The abuse, including torture of detained Armenian soldiers, is abhorrent and a war crime,” Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said on its website. “It is also deeply disturbing that a number of missing Armenian soldiers were last seen in Azerbaijan’s custody and it has failed to account for them.”
In a Sept. 15 proclamation, President Joe Biden had this to say about National POW/MIA Recognition Day: “On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we pledge to seek out answers for the families of service members still missing in action. We commit to doing all in our power to identify and recover America’s missing sons and daughters. And we pay tribute to former prisoners of war — individuals who exhibited remarkable courage, love of country, and devotion to duty to protect our Nation’s safety and freedoms.”
To learn more about POWs, visit the International Committee of the Red Cross’ POW website.
On Sept. 15, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, spoke at a ceremony in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes Austin, speaking to prisoners of war and their families as well as to the families of the missing, said "We're humbled by your sacrifice and your resilience. We still feel the pain of those missing from conflicts for generations ago, and we share the uncertainty that many of you endure. We also thank you for your advocacy and involvement in our work to recover our fallen and our missing."
NBC News reported Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans almost didn’t get health care benefits from facing toxic burn pits because Republicans rallied together to blockade the bill, only caving after outcries from veterans.
Caulkins was first elected to the Illinois House in 2018. His legislative experience includes serving on the Public Utilities and Prescription Drug Affordability.
Caulkins is a state representative who resides in Decatur, according to the Illinois House. He has been active in voting against any LGBT-plus policies, Vote Smart noted.