Marin County to Host POW/MIA Recognition Day on Sept. 28 (Updated Sept. 25, 2013) San Rafael, CA — Marin County will host the 2nd Annual POW/MIA Recognition Day on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael. The event is free and open to the public, and is produced by the Marin Alliance for the American Spirit (MAAS), a nonprofit dedicated to honoring active duty soldiers and veterans. The County of Marin, Ghilotti Bros., Inc. and The Pleasure Is Mine Catering are co-sponsoring the event.
See this video on Vietnam POWs:
10 am – 11 am and after Noon: Vets Connect (Auditorium back lobby)
10:30 am – 11 am: Musical Tribute to America’s POWs, MIAs, KIAs, Active Duty Soldiers & Vets - By Travis Brass
11 am – Noon: Formal Program
Introduction: Keith Woodcock, President, Marin Alliance for the American Spirit«
Presentation of the Colors: U.S. Marine Corps, House of Steel Marine Recruits
“Star Spangled Banner”: Travis Brass with vocalist A1C George Brahler, Travis Air Force Base«
Invocation: Father Alner Nambatac, Chaplain, U.S. Army Reserve & St. Isabella Parish«
Welcome: Judy Arnold, President, Marin County Board of Supervisors«
Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools
Rear Admiral Karl L. Schultz, U.S. Coast Guard
Lt. Col. Steve Countouriotis, U.S. Army (Ret.) on behalf of
Sgt. Jon Cavianni (video)
California State Assemblyman Marc Levine
Travis Brass, “America the Beautiful”
12 pm: BBQ
Michael Pritchard, master of ceremonies
Doc Kraft Band
The Pleasure Is Mine Catering
12:45 pm: Missing Man Formation Flyover: Bay Bombers Squadron
See Marin IJ coverage 9/5/13 here:
DIRECTIONS TO MARIN COUNTY VETERANS MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM
Directions to the Marin Center
10 Avenue of the Flags
San Rafael, CA 94903
From the North:
- Travel to Highway 101 and travel Southbound.
- Take the Freitas Parkway Exit.
- Turn Left at the Stop Light at the end of the freeway off ramp.
- Travel over the freeway on the overpass.
- Immediately after the overpass, turn Left. Watch for cross traffic.
- Turn Right immediately onto Civic Center Drive.
- Avenue of the Flags will be a street on your left after a slight down-slope.
- Find the nearest parking space lots adjacent to all facilities.
From the South:
- Travel to Highway 101 and head Northbound.
- Take the North San Pedro Exit.
- Take the First Right on the freeway off ramp headed East.
- Turn Left at the first stop light onto Civic Center Drive.
- Follow Civic Center Drive past the Lagoon.
- Avenue of the Flags will be the second Right.
- Find the nearest parking space in one of the many Parking lots adjacent to all facilities
- 511 online lets you easily plan your trip to the Marin Center using public transportation.
- Golden Gate Transit offers bus service to the Marin Center and County Fairgrounds.
- Call Golden Gate Transit at (415) 455-2000 for fare, trip-planning and schedule information
Video of this moving event is posted on our Facebook Page at
Video of the 2012
The Marin Independent Journal covered the event:
San Rafael event honors prisoners of war and those missing in action
By Janis Mara
Marin Independent Journal (Marin County, California) www.marinij.com
During five years locked in a cell in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp, “what got us through was knowing people like you were pulling for us,” Larry Friese, a retired Marine, told the crowd at Marin’s POW/MIA Recognition Day on Saturday.
The event, hosted by the newly formed Marin Alliance for the American Spirit, was held at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium to honor American prisoners of war and those missing in action. Authorized by Congress in 1979, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday of September every year.
“The face of the gaunt soldier on the POW/MIA flag reminds us of those who paid for our freedom with their freedom. The flag says, ‘You are not forgotten,’ and today we remember you,” said Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold in her welcome speech.
Veterans, their families and supporters gave Arnold, Friese and other speakers, including event organizer Keith Woodcock, a series of standing ovations. One of the loudest bursts of applause was in response to an a cappella rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Senior Airman Megan Hokaj.
Hokaj, who is stationed at Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield, taught elementary school chorus and plans to complete a master’s degree in music she started at Westchester University in Pennsylvania before enlisting.
“I backed up Gene Simmons Monday,” Hokaj said during the buffet following the program. She proudly displayed a photo of herself with the Kiss bassist at the Stadium in Oakland, where Simmons sang the National Anthem at the Oakland Raiders’ home opener against the San Diego Chargers.
“He told me, ‘This cannot be like Christina (Aguilera),’ and I said, ‘No, it can’t.’ He did fine,” Hokaj said.
Those who turned out to watch Hokaj and the others on the bill came for a variety of reasons.
“I was in Vietnam and I came within two minutes of being captured,” said Neil Ostgaard of San Rafael.
“It happened on July 15, 1968.” As he leaped into a helicopter hovering eight feet above him, grabbing the outstretched hands of a fellow soldier inside, the Viet Cong opened fire on the helicopter, Ostgaard said.
“I thank my lucky stars every day that I am here,” the veteran said.
POW/MIA Flag Protocol
POW Flag Protocol & POW/MIA Recognition Day Background
The POW/MIA flag, or Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, has been deemed by the 101st United States Congress to be “the symbol of our nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation.”
U.S. Flag Code
1. The United States Flag Code states, “Display of the POW/MIA flag pursuant to this section shall
be in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public.”
POW/MIA Recognition Day
2. In 1998, the United States Congress ruled that the POW/MIA flag would fly in the public lobbies
of all military buildings, post offices, veterans memorials, and defense agencies. These institutions
were required to fly the flag on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day,
National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day.
National Flag Precedence
3. The United States Flag Code also states “The POW/MIA flag should be flown beneath the flag of
the United States, if displayed on the same pole.” Just as with any other state, presidential, or
military flag, the United States flag must be flown at the top.
4. The POW/MIA flag should be flown above any state or military flag.
5. The POW/MIA flag should be the same size or smaller than the above adjacent American flag if
flown on the same pole.
It must be noted the POW/MIA flag is a “symbol of our nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia”.
Unlike the flag of the United States, it is not a symbol of our nation and therefore the POW is not to be saluted.