JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- A ceremony of all ceremonies.
A tribute to the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.
Andy Romatnik remembers his daring tales from WWII. His plane was shot down over Italy in 1943, and he became a POW in Austria.
He lived to tell about it...by escaping.
"As we got around the country bin, I looked back. I could see the guards were way back there. I figured: now's our chance. We took off running into the woods. Easy. Simple," he said.
Simple? Well...maybe right then. Romatnik and his Army buddy were captured by German soldiers, and had to escape again. This time, they managed to hide out and work on a farm until the war was over.
He'll never forget the harshness of the runaway conditions.
"We almost starved to death. We didn't have food for all that time," he continued.
Romatnik shared his story at an Allied Veterans luncheon.
There was a candle lighting ceremony and the playing of Amazing Grace for the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
Romatnik's escape partner died two years ago...but as for him, he'll continue preaching the importance of POW Day for as long as he lives.
Flags outside the Allied Veterans Center represent the 160,000 service members that are currently Missing In Action around the world. It's an outward symbol to never forget.