Big guns to honor POWs, MIAs Saturday

ALBANY -- An Ohio American Legion Riders group started it, now local American Legion Post 30 is joining in.

Post 30, including its newly formed American Legion Riders motorcycle club, plans to honor POWs and MIAs at 10 a.m. Saturday at Veterans Park with a 21-gun salute and other memorial activities.

"We got in touch with the Bittman, Ohio, riders through facebook," said Post Commander Ray Humphrey. "Instead of going all the way to Ohio to join them, we thought we would have our own program here. This is our first year."

The website ohiolegion.com lists a motorcycle ride to the Western Reserve National Cemetery in Bittman as the Ohio Legion's event to honor POWs and MIAs.

"The records weren't kept too well from World War II until now," Humphrey said. "But there are 87,000 prisoners of war and missing in action, including 3,600 on submarines, that we will honor Saturday."

The memorial will include a short speech at 10 a.m., a 21-gun salute by three Civil War re-enactment cannons and the release of 1,000 helium-filled black balloons, Humphrey said.

"As far as we are concerned," he said," the POWs and MIAs are still awaiting their return to the country they love."