New Museum Honors American Ex-POWs

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY - The motto on the bottom of every POW/MIA flag reads "You are not forgotten." After a building dedication Wednesday at the Jefferson Barracks Military Post, the POW-MIA Museum will aim to ensure that American ex-prisoners of war and those missing in action will be remembered.

"Someone once said, 'You live as long as you're remembered,' so we've got a lot of remembering to do," said Paul Dillon, the museum's president. "We owe an awful lot to these servicemen and women."

Dillon, the son of an airman shot down over Europe during World War II, said the museum at Jefferson Barracks will serve to bring to light the stories of Americans who served their country but have not seen the recognition they deserve. "I think it's important that we at least know their names, their faces and their stories so we can get them out," Dillon said. "I know the flag says 'No one forgotten,' but for our MIAs, maybe they have been kind of forgotten and put in the shadows."

Columbia resident and Vietnam War veteran John Clark said it is crucial to honor the service of the men and women held prisoner or missing in action overseas. He said it is even more important because the number of World War II, Korean War and even Vietnam War veterans is dwindling. "We need to keep some of these stories alive so people understand what sacrifices have been made," Clark said.

Clark was himself taken prisoner in Vietnam for six years after his plane was shot down in 1967.

 Wednesday's museum dedication coincided with the final reunion for the Stalag 17-B Association. The infamous German POW camp in Austria held more than 4,000 American airmen, including Paul Dillon's father, Richmond "Red" Dillon, shot down over Europe during World War II.