Flag to POW/MIA now flies in Hutto

A strong wind cut through Hutto Monday and outside of fire station No.1 a new flag now flies proudly along with the stars and bars.

The banner, honors prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action.

"We are compelled to never forget that while we enjoy our daily pleasure there are others who endured and may still be enduring the agony of pain, deprivation and imprisonment," said Tony Gaitan with the American Legion Post 302.

Members of the local American Legion post presented the flag to the fire department. It was raised by an honor guard followed by a traditional bugle salute. Some of the first responders who stood in line even wore their own military uniforms. 

"This is for the families, this is so the families know we remember," said Hutto Fire Chief Scott Kerwood.
The chief has always been a firefighter but he also comes from a military family.

"We wanted to do something to that recognize the sacrifices the military has made, and this is one way that we could do it, by constantly having on display our commitment to military personnel," said Chief Kerwood.

According to the defense POW/MIA accounting agency, there are currently more than 82,000 American service members listed as missing.  Warriors who fought in conflicts now and dating back to WWII. For one woman the ceremony here in Hutton was more than a symbolic gathering, it was deeply personal."

Patsey Macmelugiin lost her brother during the Vietnam war in a helicopter crash. 

"I keep looking for closure because it was such a senseless thing," said MacMelugiin.

It took six long years to find the crash site, but even then, Macmelugiin said her brother's body was never recovered. The flag flying over Fire Station 1 represents both a painful reminder of loss and of  hope.

"I'm finally able to talk about it and will soon be 77 years old, so that tells you, how many years of healing I've had to go through, I mean it’s been an up and down road. It’s still hard to accept, that was my brother, we grew up together, he was the guy who took care of me when I was in High School, It’s a day by day process," said MacMelugiin.

While a flag cannot remove the feeling of loss- it is a symbolic promise, joined now in Hutto, to not forget those who are still waiting to come home.