LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They made sacrifices that are hard to imagine...what they may have seen, the difficulties they and their families endured. And for some, the suffering and heartache never ends.
In DeRidder, a monument to the city's only Vietnam Veteran still missing in action. Sgt. Major Guillory is a native of Louisiana. He moved here with his family at a very young age, graduated from Carver Elementary in 1949 and enlisted in the United States Army. Explains Sonja Lambert with the ladies auxiliary, "Mr. Guillory's Huey helicopter was shot down over south Viet Nam. His aircraft could not be found. Sgt. Major Guillory and his crew were listed as missing in action."
And she makes a plea that they not be forgotten. "We can't forget that we still have 1701 men still missing from the Viet Nam war. A lot of their parents may be gone now but they still have wives, some of them had children and they have no closure yet on the fate of their loved ones."
Ideas that are reinforced by simple white tables set up in many places to honor those missing in action or prisoners of war. Explained Mark Rhoads at the PPG Veterans celebration, "The table is our way of symbolizing the fact that we have countrymen missing in our midst. This table set for one is small, symbolizing the frailty of one prisoner alone against his oppressors. The tablecloth is white symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their country's call to arms. A single red rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the families and loved ones of our comrades in arms who keep the faith awaiting their return. The slice of lemon is on the bread plate to remind us of their bitter fate. Remember. There is salt upon the plate symbolic of the families' tears as they wait. Remember until the day they come home. Remember."
For information on Veteran's benefits in Southwest Louisiana, click here.