National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day is an American holiday dedicated to former prisoners of war (POWs). These people survived not only the horrors of war, but also captivity. They were held in prisons in harsh conditions, tortured, beaten, and humiliated. Those who went through military captivity are true heroes. The holiday is celebrated annually on April 9.
War is a terrible time. Soldiers as well as ordinary civilians suffer. It has no pity, no compassion. The people who survive there are those strong in spirit, who can go through all the trials and not give up. The celebration of National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day is intended to honor the memory of living and deceased people who have been in captivity.
The history of the holiday begins in 1984, when former prisoners of war from the time of the Bataan Death March joined forces and proposed the establishment of a day that honors all people who have passed through captivity or left their lives behind. The initiative was supported by U.S. President Reagan, and the holiday was made official in 1988.
- The creators of the holiday are U.S. Army soldiers who lost the battle to the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula. The Japanese took a great many prisoners with them, who were taken by freight train to their place of confinement. Horrible detention conditions and torture led to the death of more than 500 soldiers. The event would later be recognized as a Japanese war crime.
- British R. Campbell was able to escape captivity during WWI with the Kaiser’s permission because he wanted to see his dying mother. However, he went back himself because he had given his word to the German that he would not escape.
How to celebrate
Congratulate your relatives and acquaintances on the holiday, if any of them went through war captivity. Find out more information about the number of prisoners of war and the conditions in which they were held.
Spread the word about the holiday on social media. Let more people know about it!
When is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day celebrated in 2024?
National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day is observed on April 9 each year.