Southeast Kansas community honors POWMIA soldiers

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COLUMBUS, Ks. — For nearly a decade the people of Columbus have been remembering and honoring soldiers who were prisoners of war and missing in action.

In a combined effort, American Legion Post 3 and VFW Post 1372 hosted their 9th annual 24 hour POWMIA watchfire.


Volunteers from the posts kept a watchful eye over the flame for 24 hours starting Saturday evening until it was extinguished at 4:30 Sunday afternoon.

While this is only the ninth year of the watchfire, the tradition dates back to the soldiers of the Revolutionary War.


“They’d have the fire that helps lead the guys back, it is the light that can lead them back to their area, they would build a big bonfire and that would help the guys return,” says Juanita Dobkins, American Legion Auxiliary President.

The watchfire also serves as a fundraising event to help the programs the posts offer for veterans.


Saturday’s kick off also featured a raffle, food and a flag retirement ceremony.

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