LAS VEGAS -- Servicemen and women at Nellis Air Force Base are trying to honor and learn from former prisoners of war.
The base was one of the many military installations across the country that paused to pay tribute on Friday for POW/MIA Recognition Day. It's to thank and remember the American hero's who risked it all in the name of freedom.
Current service members say it's also a day to hear and learn from their stories. Music tributes and ceremonies are held the third Friday of every September. It helps create happier memories for those who can recall a much different time in their lives.
"We didn't have much room except to get off the plane with all our gear and get in on the other side, you could hear the pings off the fuselage of the plane and it was kind of very eerie," said former POW Joseph S. North, Marine Corps, Vietnam War.
North became a prisoner of war during a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam. He was the only one on his team to escape and make it home alive.
"I heard a shot and it got me right in the back of the leg, I just couldn't believe it and I just kept running," he said.
All across the country, people paused to honor POW/MIA Recognition Day. Nellis Air Force Base hosted a remembrance ceremony.
"I think that when they get a chance to tell their story they're passing it along to another generation of soldiers and airmen and we're going to take those lessons learned and value them, not just let them fall," said Staff Sgt. Paul Merck, a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist.
Former prisoners of war, their families, and the families of those who still haven't come home were in attendance.
"Recognize that those guys and gals did that before I was born and I woke up in that freedom and was born under that layer of freedom and I just wanted to say thank you to them for that," said Col. Peter Ford, 57th Adversary Tactics Group.
There are 13 Nellis servicemen and women listed as prisoners of war or missing in action. There are 17 Nevadans also listed.
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