Home Featured APRIL 9: A day to recognize former POWs

APRIL 9: A day to recognize former POWs

Good morning and happy Saturday folks! Thanks for including The County Line as part of your complete breakfast.

Today is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day. While the name is admittedly a mouthful, it’s a necessary inconvenience to differentiate from National POW/MIA Recognition Day (Sept. 16). The April 9 designation for Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day is intentional, with a tragic backstory that every American should know. 

April 9, 1942—exactly 80 years ago today—marked the beginning of the Bataan Death March. This dark moment in history saw tens of thousands of emaciated American and Filipino POWs forcibly marched 60-some miles to Capas, Tarlac, in the Philippines. They were deprived of food, water, rest, and even clothing in some cases. Many did not make it. The march quickly turned barbaric, rampant with extreme physical abuse, torture, and mass murder. After the trek, disease and abuse claimed even more lives. 

An allied military commission would later determine that these acts by the Japanese Imperial Army amounted to war crimes.

It’s hard to fathom the sacrifices that some have made for their country, for freedom, for us. The information shared above doesn’t even scratch the surface. Aside from the ultimate sacrifice of a life, forfeiting one’s freedom to an enemy in effort to protect the freedom of fellow countrymen is about as selfless as it gets. 

I remember sitting in social studies class as a middle school student, maybe fifth grade, and learning about POWs and the horrors they experienced for the first time. Even the sanitized version that was deemed appropriate to discuss with 10 and 11-year-olds is something that sticks with you a while. You’re left with questions about courage and sacrifice and believing in a cause so much it’s worth dying for. You’re left in awe of those who lived—and died—knowing the answers to those questions. I’m still in awe of these people, and the least they deserve is a day of recognition. Thanks to all who have and who continue to serve, and a special thanks today to the brave souls who were prisoners of war.

With our insignificant-in-comparison problems and tough days now put in proper perspective, let’s take a look at today’s weather, brought to you by the tireless interns at The County Line:

At 6 a.m. it’s 36 degrees at the Russell Springs office. Reports just down the road in Jamestown are an identical 36 degrees, and the thermometer at the Adair County branch in Columbia shows 37. We’re in for a cold, dreary one today, cloudy all day with a chance of showers through the morning. The high today is in the upper 40s.

We’re wishing a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to Lexi Feese. Have a good one, Lexi!

In case you’ve missed it, we’re running a free promotion this month to give one lucky reader free car washes for an entire year, courtesy of our friends at Splash Carwash. All you have to do is follow this link and comment with your birthday. Add a spouse’s birthday and/or anniversary to double your chances of winning!

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Wes Feese is one of this company's owners and founders. He has previously worked as an editor, news reporter, sportswriter, photographer, and freelance contributor for newspapers across central Kentucky. He grew up in the Egypt community of Adair County and is a graduate of Adair County High School and Lindsey Wilson College.