On Friday, the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System held a brunch to honor 12 former prisoners of war and servicemen missing in action.
The five former POWs who attended the event at the Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Waco were recognized for their personal sacrifices.
Lampasas resident Leo Perkins who was a flight engineer during WWII said he was captured in Amsterdam after he jumped from a plane with a parachute as it was being shot down.
The 99-year-old was held captive for almost two years at prisoner war camps in Germany.
"I'm really happy to have lived this long and see some of my granddaughters get married. I never planned on living this long. I never planned on dying but here I am, God has been pretty good to me," Perkins said.
Other POWs present like Woodway resident Jack Goodwin, 87 consider themselves lucky to have survived. He is a Korean War Veteran who was assigned to the Task Force Smith was held in captivity for 38 months. He said today only 39 out of 750 captured with him are still alive.
"We were on a death march, where we walked 120 miles, 120 guys were shot. If you fell off you were shot. That winter we lost 200 or some more guys who either died of malnutrition or starvation or shot," Goodwin said.
A round table was placed at the center of the auditorium to honor those missing in action. Each item on the table was used as a symbol. For instance, it was explained single red rose, displayed in a vase, "reminded us of the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and friends of these Americans that keep the faith, awaiting their return."
The third Friday of September is recognized POW/MIA day.
Names of POWs honored:
1. Thomas Curtis, 85, Vietnam Veteran
2. Morris Baker, 92, WWII Veteran
3. Jennings Paschal Jr., 92, WWII Veteran
4. Leo Perkins, 99, WWII Veteran
5. Jack Goodwin, 87, Korean War Veteran
Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson who attended the event spoke before the crowd to honor the POWs and soldiers MIA.
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