POW/MIA Recognition Day Watchfire Event at Fort Ontario

City of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow announced a POW/MIA Recognition Day - Remembrance Ceremony and Watchfire Event, will be held on Sept. 17, at the Fort Ontario State Historic Site. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event. The watchfire will begin at dark, and the event will kick off at 6:30 p.m. with a short formal ceremony.

This event is the second in a series of ongoing events created through a partnership with the Oswego-based veterans’ charity, Thank A Service Member, Inc (TASM). The city of Oswego previously provided a $15,000 grant to TASM as part of a $200,000 funding commitment from Mayor Barlow and the Oswego Common Council to not-for-profit organizations in the city of Oswego following the COVID-19 pandemic. Several not-for-profit organizations received grants from the city of Oswego to offset fundraising and revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic, using funding received from the city’s allocation from the Federal Government’s American Rescue Plan package.

“I am pleased to be partnering with Thank A Service Member, Inc. and its executive director Peter Allen, to offer the community a way to observe and honor the commitment and sacrifices made by this nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action,” said Mayor Barlow.

Every year, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is held on the third Friday of September. The day was established by Congress in 1998 and is one of the six days of the year that the POW/MIA flag can be flown. Modern-day watchfires stem from a long military tradition where following a long battle, a fire would be started so those missing or lost could locate and rejoin their comrades. Today these watchfires are held annually to commemorate service members who never returned from battle.

“We are grateful to Mayor Barlow, the city of Oswego, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and all of the local volunteers and service organizations who have helped make these events possible,” said TASM Executive Director Peter Allen.”

Through partnerships with local government, businesses, and organizations, the Thank a Service Member organization has placed flag collection boxes throughout the community. According to Thank a Service Member Founder and Board President Peter Allen, “these boxes provide a convenient way for the community to retire unserviceable flags”.

The boxes are available year-round at the American Legion Post 587 at 873 Oneida Street in Fulton; in the main lobby of City Hall in Oswego, VFW Post 569 in Fulton, Oswego County Federal Credit Union branch offices at the Oswego East Side, Fulton, and Mexico locations, and the American Legion Post 486 in Minetto.

Thank A Service Member, Inc. is an approved 501(c ) 3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to working on behalf of America’s military veterans and active-duty service members. TASM frequently creates educational programs, support initiatives, and venues designed to show appreciation and gratitude for military personnel’s service and sacrifices.

For more information on TASM, visit www.thankaservicemember.org or contact Peter Allen at 315-402-5915 or tasm09@gmail.com.

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