Formers prisoners of war from around the country are expected to come to Warner Robins in September for an event to recognize their sacrifices.
About 200 former prisoners of war have been invited to the event dubbed The Ride Home, said Buster Hickam, one of the organizers. He expects about 150 will show up, in addition to about that many or more family members of POWs who never returned home.
The event has been held in the past at Andersonville National Historic Site, but Hickam said there aren’t enough hotel rooms there to accommodate all of the visitors so it has been moved to Warner Robins.
On Sept. 15, which is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the POWs will leave under police escort from the Museum of Aviation for a ceremony in Andersonville. They will return for a dinner to be held in their honor at the Museum of Aviation that night. Some of the POWs will speak.
“It’s a history less for all of us,” said Hickam. “When you hear a veteran tell a story, it’s huge for us to hear to it.”
Hickam is president of the local chapter of Rolling Thunder, a group of motorcyclists and others who work to raise awareness about the issue of prisoners of war and those missing in action who have not been found.
Although Sept. 15, a Friday, is the big day for the event, many veterans are also expected that Thursday when the Museum of Aviation traditionally holds a ceremony honoring National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Hickam said. There will also be a luncheon for them Saturday in Warner Robins.