Unbeknownst to many, dying in the military is not the worst that can happen to a soldier. Being captured was the biggest threat when serving, as Vietnam veteran Myke Shelby pointed out.
“Getting captured—that scared us most than anything,” said Shelby, also known as New York Myke.
Becoming a captured or missing soldier is not just hard on the lost individual. The lack of closure about knowing what happened to your loved one is an extremely difficult process to endure.
Vickie Castro lost her son, Jonathan Castro, in Mosul, Iraq in 2004. She got a knock on her door from soldiers who started by saying, “We regret to inform you.”
Knowing that her son has passed away is hard, but she admits not knowing where he is would be even harder.
“I can’t wrap my head around…being able to get through every day of your life not knowing,” she said.
Eighty-two thousand soldiers from all foreign wars starting with World War I are unaccounted for. Some 82,000 families had to wonder what fate might had befallen their loved ones.
With this in mind, the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club Chapter 101 sponsored a Missing Man Chair Dedication in remembrance of those soldiers.
But, the ceremony was much more than just a remembrance as Shelby pointed out.
“We’re going to demonstrate how much we believe and how much we care about those POWs,” said Shelby. “We’re demonstrating to everyone in the county.”
And some 100 people went out of their way on Saturday to demonstrate with Shelby at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6110 in Canyon Country. Representatives from many organizations, such as Rolling Thunder, Inc., multiple chapters of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, and American Gold Star Mothers Inc., were all present to take part in the dedication.
Some rode their motorcycles all the way from San Diego to take part in the ceremony, such as Road Captain and army veteran Chop Giacalone of Boozefighters Chapter 3.
“I’m a patriot,” he said. “I made it my mission to make it up here (to the dedication).”
With the chair being properly dedicated, it will continue to sit in the corner at VFW Post 6110 in Canyon Country with no plans to remove the chair any time soon, as Ray Smith, the commander of the post, pointed out.
“You try taking that, you’re dead,” said 85-year-old Korean War veteran Smith. “That (chair) means more than what the world is about.”