Walnut Creek ceremony honor missing soldiers

Nearly 80,000 soldiers who remain missing in action will be remembered in a Memorial Day ceremony in Walnut Creek's Civic Park.
May 31, 2011 1:37:35 PM PDT
For the families of those missing in war, Memorial Day can be especially difficult. For them, the holiday brings back all the uncertainty and the unsettled feelings that go with not knowing what happened to a loved one.

This Memorial Day in Walnut Creek, the focus was not only on those lost in war, but also those who were prisoners of war and the tens of thousands still missing.

Navy commander Renee Richardson heads the Defense Department's Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel office. Their mission is finding the 84,000 soldiers and marines still missing, the vast majority of them from World War II.

"The diaries and memories of our veterans are an important part of our work to find the missing, they are also an important part of our collective history," Richardson said.

Betty Fulgham's brother Chet Phillips was in the Army Air Corps in World War II. Phillip's plane went down over New Guinea.

"He just disappeared in a cloud, they're still looking for him today," she said.

Bob Bru, 91, was listed as missing during World War II. He spent two years in a German prison camp, but still feels fortunate.

"My tailgunner on my plane was killed and he was 18 years old and I always think of him and the life he could've led," Bru said.

Bru was held prisoner in Germany's infamous Stalag Luft III, a prison camp exclusively for airmen and the site of a famous tunneling escape that was later depicted in the movie The Great Escape.


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