United Bikers of Maine members from Franklin and Oxford counties ride across the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge before the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony Friday evening, Sept. 16, in Jay. This is the 30th year the bikers have participated. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — More than 100 veterans, bikers, family members and others attended the 31st Annual Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action National Recognition Day service Friday, Sept. 16.

The annual observance is hosted by VFW Post 3335 and AMVETS Post 33 – both in Jay – and American Legion Post 10 in Livermore Falls, and their auxiliaries. This year, members of VFW Post 10881 in Farmington also attended.

Local musicians Jan and Tom Gill along with Spruce Mountain Middle School students Elyssa Yanelli, Cammi Lovewell and Summit Woodcock provided music to start the service. Cammi performed a song she wrote especially for the event.

Cammi Lovewell, a seventh grade student at Spruce Mountain Middle School performs a song she wrote especially for the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony Friday evening, Sept. 16, in Jay. Classmates Elyssa Yanelli and Summit Woodcock also took part. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

For the 30th year, members of United Bikers of Maine from Franklin and Oxford counties drove from Turner through Livermore Falls to Jay.

“They ride 18 miles, symbolizing Maine’s 18 MIAs of the Vietnam era,” Jim Manter, judge advocate for VFW Post 3335 in Jay, said. “The rumble of their engines draws attention to the upcoming ceremony. They are here every year, rain or shine.”

Patrick Libby of Livermore Falls smiles as he drives across the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge Friday night, Sept. 16, in Jay. He and his passenger, Jackson Libby also of Livermore Falls were participating in the 31st Annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony sponsored by local veterans organizations and their auxiliaries. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Coming together to show support and admiration for local friends and families that have sacrificed so much should be considered a duty, Manter said.


“Until the last POW/MIA is returned we will be their voice to let our nation know we have not forgotten them,” he said. “We will never forget.”

Members of Boy Scout Troop 546 and Cub Scout Pack 585, both of Farmington led the Pledge of Allegiance. The colors were presented by Maine Wing Civil Air Patrol Cadets 2nd Lt. Sean Haggerty, MSgt. Paige Richard, CMSgt. Scout Woodcock and Kayliana Madore.

A wreath is placed Friday night, Sept. 16, at the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge Monument of All Wars on Riley Road in Jay by the families of servicemen who were prisoners of war or are missing in action. From left are Juanita Craft of Livermore, brothers John and Paul Nutting of Leeds, and Rose Dyke of Canton who were honoring their husband, father, and brother, respectively. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Families whose servicemen were POWs or MIA were recognized:

• Juanita Craft of Livermore, widow of Charles Craft who was a POW for 787 days in Vietnam.

• Rose and John Dyke of Canton, her brother John Brooke of Bryant Pond MIA Vietnam War.

• Brothers John Jr. and Paul Nutting of Leeds, their father John Nutting Sr. MIA Korean War.


Craft, Specialist E-4 served in the Army as a radio operator and advisor to the 33rd Vietnamese Ranger Battalion in South Vietnam. He was taken prisoner by the Viet Cong on Dec. 29, 1964, and was released Feb. 23, 1967. Discharged from the Army in May 1967, he passed away Oct. 18, 2018.

Brooks, Staff Sgt. in the Army served with the 129th Aviation Company as a crew chief aboard a UH-1H Iroquois. On May 13, 1969, while carrying American and South Korean forces on a combat mission in South Vietnam came under fire and crashed into a mountain ridge line. He is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Nutting, Captain in the Air Force served as a navigator aboard a B-29-A Superfortress with the 371st Bombardment Squadron. It was shot down by anti-aircraft artilleryy and Mig-15 fighters during a bombing mission targeting Namsi Airfield in northwest North Korea on Oct. 23, 1951. He is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Maine Director of Veteran Services David Richmond recently visited that cemetery, the walls of which hold the names of Brooks, Nutting and nearly 29,000 other service members still missing.

“Let us pause to remember the sacrifice of our nation’s more than 80,000 Missing in Action service members and nearly 140,000 POWs, including those who died in captivity,” Richmond said. “Today we can thank the families of Vietnam War service members who demanded accountability and recognition of sacrifice, which led to a resolution in 1979 creating Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action National Recognition Day.

“Today we also pause to remember the loved ones – parents, siblings, spouses, and children who have waited for years, often never learning the fate of their service member or who worried about their family member while they were being held in enemy captivity. I ask you to never forget those who were held in captivity and who remain unaccounted for. They represent generations of selfless service and sacrifice to our country.”


A wreath was placed at the POW/MIA Remembrance Bridge Monument of all Wars by Craft and the Nuttings with Dyke nearby. AMVETS Post 33 honor team gave a 21-gun salute and taps was played.

“I’m honored to be here with you to honor the life and the memory of the American service members who suffered greatly at the hands of the enemy, including many from Maine,” U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, said. “Whether it was to stomp out the rise of fascism in Europe, to protect our nation in the wake of the September 11th attacks, or in other battles in our country’s history, generations of brave men and women have answered the call to serve and thousands have yet to return home.

“These men and women have given years of their life and sacrificed their freedom in service to our nation. Our former POWs have shown extraordinary dedication to their country, often in the face of unimaginable horror. Their courage is something few can aspire to, but all can admire. 82,000 men and women serving our country remain unaccounted for today. Whether they were lost in this century or the last, for those who loved them, their loss remains fresh. Your sacrifice is enormous and we hold the memory of your loved one in our hearts today and all days.

“The POW/MIA flag reads “You Are Not Forgotten.” Ceremonies like today’s ensure that we live up to this promise through the years and throughout the country.”

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