Lt. Gen. Howard Fish was a clear choice for organizers of a Wreaths Across America event held in Tyler on Saturday morning when they selected who would honor veterans who've gone missing in action or have been prisoners of war.
Over his lifetime, Fish, 93, of Tyler, has been personally affected by both difficulties.
He had an older brother who went missing in action during WWII, and Fish, himself, became Germany's prisoner of war after the B-17 he was in was shot down on its 23rd mission.
Speaking to about 100 attendees at the Wreaths Across America event at Tyler Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery - and laying down a wreath in honor of all POW's and MIA's - he said he was glad to help honor the lives of veterans who have passed on.
"It's all well and good and fitting that we all honor the lives of these veterans," he said.
Wreaths Across America is a national event that celebrates and honors the sacrifices of fallen United States veterans.
The Tyler celebration featured a presentation of colors, Pledge of Allegiance, 21-gun salute and more. Individual wreaths were laid down at the cemetery to honor POW's and MIA's from each branch of the military.
Following the formal ceremony, the Tyler Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Composite Squadron, the patriotic fourth degree Assembly #3361 of the Knights of Columbus and other organizations and volunteers from the community placed 420 wreaths on the graves of veterans at the cemetery.
The event, held at Tyler Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery, was held at the same time the Wreaths Across America ceremony was taking place at Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C.
Shirley McKellar, retired U.S. Army veteran, of Tyler, said she was humbled by the experience of placing wreaths at the graves of veterans at the cemetery. She said she hoped the event showed the families of deceased veterans that their loved one's service is still appreciated.
Billy Robison is the general manager of the cemetery and said he was glad to see the veterans at the cemetery be honored in such a special way.
"We're very honored to be able to honor the guys who have gone before us," Robison said. "It's the least we can do."