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POWs, MIAs remembered

Staff writer

Friday is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It is a special day set aside to recognize all those still missing and unaccounted for from all wars.

It’s been almost 50 years since Deanna Klenda’s brother, Major Dean A. Klenda, went missing in Vietnam as a fighter pilot on Sept. 17, 1965. Numerous excavations have been made to find his remains. Another is scheduled for October through December.

Klenda said Sept. 17 is always a sad day for her. She keeps the memories of her brother and other missing servicemen alive by serving as the Kansas coordinator of the National League of POW-MIA Families, formed in 1970.

Klenda said a memorial plaque honoring her brother sits on a stone in the Pilsen church cemetery. It was placed there after a memorial service for Major Klenda sometime in the mid-1980s. Her brother received full military honors, including a fly-over.

Every year, Klenda goes to Washington, District of Columbia, to visit the Vietnam War Memorial.

“That’s where I feel him,” she said.

And every year, she honors him by placing a small bouquet of wheat at the memorial.

Dean was her older brother and was 25 when he disappeared. He was her only sibling.

Klenda said Kansas still has 25 missing from the Vietnam War, including her brother and Ronald Schultz of Hillsboro.

Last modified Sept. 18, 2014

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