Jaffrey American Legion hosting 24-hour POW/MIA vigil

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/14/2022 4:43:55 PM
Modified: 9/14/2022 4:43:25 PM

Every year, the state American Legion conducts a 24-hour “Spirit of the Eagle” vigil to remember veterans, prisoners of war, veterans who are missing in action and those who were killed and never brought home.

The ceremony is in a different place each year, and this year it will be at Jaffrey American Legion Post 11 at 20 Webster St. from 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, to 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 18.

“It’s a pretty important thing. It’s a huge thing for the American Legion,” said Michael Gallagher, a Post 11 member, vice-commander of the Sons of the American Legion detachment for New Hampshire and chairman of the event. “Jaffrey Post 11 is very proud to have it here.”

Those in attendance will include officers from the New Hampshire American Legion detachment, Sons of the American Legion officers, New Hampshire American Legion Auxiliary officers and members of the Legion Riders motorcycle group. Gallagher said people will be coming from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont.

“You do not have to be a veteran to attend,” he said, adding that because the American Legion is a nonpartisan group, the vigil is not a political event.

The vigil will start with an opening ceremony that includes speakers and prayers. On the stage will be wreaths representing World War I, World War II and the Korean, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Flags from all branches of the U.S. military, including Space Force, will also be on display, as will the state, American and POW/MIA flags. The stage will be accessible for people in wheelchairs.

During the vigil, two people will stand for 15 minutes at a time – or sit if they cannot stand – in the backyard of the American Legion building until 11 a.m. Sept. 18, at which time there will be a closing ceremony.

Gallagher is one of about 20 people who will be spending the night at the American Legion post, prepared to jump in if there are not two people available to stand.

“Any openings, I take part in,” he said.

Gallagher has been involved for five years, and has gone to vigils around the state.

“It’s a very big honor for me,” he said of chairing this year’s event. “To get everyone together is quite a trick, but we owe our veterans, our MIA and our POWs. It’s our duty to bring them home, and that should be our country’s duty.”

The post is still looking for people to be part of the watch. Anyone interested should contact Melissa Greenwood at 603-268-5733 or mdgreenwood@hotmail.com.


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