LANSING, N.Y. (WENY) -- A watchfire event for National POW and MIA Recognition Day took place at Myers Park this evening. Veterans honored prisoners of war and those missing in action, with this ancient tradition. 

Michael Moran, a Vietnam War veteran, helped organize the event. Moran served as an infantry officer from 1971-1972. The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 377, and other veteran organizations, have been putting this event on for 31 years, in Lansing. Moran said the watchfire is a symbol to say "Welcome home" to soldiers. 

“The watchfire is a historical thing...lit after battles, going back to Roman times to help the wounded and lost get back to their lines because there were no cell phones or GPS,” he said.  

During the event, unserviceable American flags were properly disposed into the fire. The ceremony took place as the watchfire was lit. 


“These are flags that have been in cemeteries, office buildings, people's homes...that they bring to us, they bring to the legions, they bring to the VFWs, to be disposed of properly,” he said.  

Moran said this day is important to not only veterans, but all Americans as well. He said it is a way to show soldiers that they will never be forgotten. 

“Every person in the military learns, 'No person left behind,' and this is a symbol to remember those that have not made it home yet. Fight for your buddy and no person left behind,” he said.