Every war has its heroes, among them are those who suffered in captivity at the hands of the enemies of our country, our Prisoner of War (POW) and those still missing in action (MIA).
Those who were captured, survived their brutal imprisonment and came home, carry their wounds until their death. Those still missing in action leave a family wondering their fate, waiting, still waiting.
It is to these brave warriors that this monument is dedicated.
The Prisoner of War Medal is a military award of the United States Armed Forces authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on 8 November 1985. The United States Code citation for the POW Medal statute is 10 U.S.C. § 1128.
With information taken from our National Park Service records, Prisoners of War during the Civil War are estimated to be 194,000 Union soldiers and 213,000 Confederate soldiers, more prisoners than any other conflict in the history of our country. There were less than a dozen American POWs during the Spanish-American War and approximately 4,120 from World War I, none that could be identified from Hillsborough County.
The following information regarding unaccounted for POWs/MIAs by war periods is summarized below. Information was obtained from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) as of July 2019.
World War II – 72,698
Korean War – 7,651
Cold War – 126
Vietnam War – 1,588
Gulf Wars – 6
Additional statistics and accounting information is best obtained from official Department of Defense sources, such as, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. Click here (https://www.dpaa.mil/) to search this site.
This one lonely statue represents all of these brave warriors who have made tremendous sacrifices in service to our county. It represents our American fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brother and sisters, our neighbors.
The bronze stars on the monument honor those POWs and MIAs who entered the military as a resident of Hillsborough County. A total of 104 of these warriors are accounted for.
The Bronze sculpture kneeling in captivity was created in the likeness of former POW Don Denny who passed away before the POW/MIA Memorial could be completed. Don was one of the original memorial committee members, he was an avid veterans advocate, a member of numerous veterans organizations, spoke at many local schools and accrued over 10,000 volunteer hours at the former Bay Pines VA Medical Center and often shared his experiences during patriotic ceremonies in the local community and surrounding area.
Don was such a patriot that he falsified his birth certificate so he could enlist in the U S Army in 1947 at the age of 15. He went to Korea in August 1950 with the 2nd Infantry Division, 38th Regiment, B Company. After spending about eight months in action in both North and South Korea, he was captured on May 18, 1951. He was held in Camps 1 and 3 and was a POW for 27 months. He was released August 20, 1953 after the truce talks and he was discharged from Camp Carson, Colorado.