Community remembers POWs and MIAs in ceremony

Carla Clark | For The Republic The Bartholomew County Veterans Honor Guard stands at attention as Pam Schmelz, Columbus City Band, plays Taps during the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony held at the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans in Columbus, Ind., Friday September, 15, 2023.

The community gathered at the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans for the National POW/MIA Ceremony Friday night.

Guests were welcomed by emcee Zack Ellison and colors were presented by the Bartholomew County Veterans Honor Guard, who received the Patriot Award.

The Columbus Indiana Children’s Choir performed the National Anthem and “God Bless America.”

Vocalist Harvey Leggett, a pastor and former Marine, gave the invocation. Chris Fitzsimmons and Iraq war veteran, read teh names and months in captivity for the 55 POWs and MIAs as Deb Kleinschmidt, a Gold Star mother, rang a bell in each of their honors.

Guest speaker was Melissa Hill, Dar Historian and Past Regent for the Joseph Hart Chapter in Bartholomew County, who spoke about her uncle Frank Woodruff Buckles. He was a World War I veteran and World War II prisoner of war who died in 2011.

“Taps” was performed by Pam Schmelz, Columbus City Band. Music for the event was provided by Southern Idniana Pipes and Drums.

The ceremoney is supported by VFW Post 1987, American Legion Post 24 and AMVETS Post 509.

For a photo gallery, visit:

Photo Gallery: POW/MIA Recognition Day Event