Sailors in Naples pay tribute to the military’s missing
NAPLES, Italy — Jason Hanna has to be perfect.
“You can’t afford to make a mistake, not on taps,” the 25-year-old petty officer 3rd class musician said Monday after his rendition of the haunting musical notes that honor the military’s dead.
“Every note has a meaning, and I think that meaning is very personal, and something that means something different to everyone,” said the trumpeter with Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet band.
Sailors at Naval Support Activity Naples took time Monday morning to pay tribute to military brethren missing in action or prisoners of war.
“The spirit of our country is elegantly represented” in the enduring campaigns and observances held worldwide by Americans so that those missing in action or prisoners of war never are forgotten, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Barry Bridger said at Monday’s observance in Naples.
About 88,000 Americans still are missing from all of the nation’s wars, and of those, more than 78,000 World War II warriors remain missing, lost at sea or buried in national cemeteries as “unknowns,” according to the Pentagon’s POW/Missing Personnel Office.
“That’s just so hard to believe,” Bridger said of the number of missing. “And there are more than 50,000 ex-POWs living among us today.”
After his F-4 Phantom jet was hit over North Vietnam on Jan. 23, 1967, Bridger spent six years as a prisoner of war in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” He was released March 4, 1973, and retired after 22 years of military service.
On Monday, he served as the guest speaker at NSA Naples’ observance ceremony, telling gathered sailors they could best honor the nation’s MIA and POW troops by proudly and honorably serving their nation.