Vandalism, theft fails to thwart POW-MIA remembrance

Moseley honors fallen relative in touching ceremony

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Photo/Anthony Victoria: Members of the VFW Post 6476 in Colton doing the 21 gun salute.
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Joe Moseley scurried to get things prepared for an event to honor Prisoners of War and soldiers missing in action early Monday.

Hours after he and a couple of colleagues successfully installed the American and POW/MIA flags on a 30-foot pole on the top of the Andreson building for the ceremony, Moseley returned to find the building vandalized and the flags gone.

“I didn’t know this event was going to happen until 9:00 today,” he explained. “My heart dropped when I saw the rope dangling.”

Nonetheless, Moseley said he was determined to continue on with the event to honor fallen and missing men and women in action.

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Dozens of veterans and community supporters joined Moseley on the roof of the Andreson  building to commemorate POW/MIA National Recognition Day by singing along to Amazing Grace, standing for the 21-Gun Salute, and hearing speeches from veteran groups.

Photo/Anthony Victoria: The American and POW/MIA flags flying over Downtown San Bernardino.
Photo/Anthony Victoria: The American and POW/MIA flags flying over Downtown San Bernardino.

Moseley, an Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, spoke about the importance of honoring those who have “pushed themselves to the brink” for the U.S.

“This means something to those who can’t be here today,” he said.

Moseley’s distant relative, Frederick Collins, died of dysentery in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. The 23-year-old U.S. Army corporal and Bataan Death March victim was buried along with 14 others inside a mass grave at Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines in November of 1942, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.  

The 36-year-old expressed it only made sense for him and other veterans to do whatever it took to honor Collins and the others who haven’t made it back home.

“I realize how important this is,” Moseley said. “I knew we had to do this event no matter what. There are still U.S. personnel missing and we must never forget them.”

Photo/Anthony Victoria: Joe Moseley speaking to dozens of veterans and supporters on the roof of the Andreson  building to commemorate POW/MIA National Recognition Day.
Photo/Anthony Victoria: Joe Moseley speaking to dozens of veterans and supporters during a POW/MIA National Recognition Day ceremony on Monday.

San Bernardino County Veterans Affairs Director Frank Guevara told those in attendance that the national day of recognition symbolizes America’s concern and commitment to its military servicemen and women.

Guevara also hailed Moseley for establishing Veteran Joe’s–a nonprofit that is slated to help Inland veterans with an array of social and employment services.

“I have a great deal of respect for what he’s done,” Guevara said. “He’s a hard working, driven guy.”

Monday’s event resonated with U.S. Army veteran David Smith, who served during the Vietnam War.

“I’m proud to be here,” Smith said. “This touches my heart.”

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