766 American servicemen are recorded as prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. American soldiers faced torture during their confinement, some lasting more than seven years before being released. Guidelines outlined in the Geneva Convention following World War II were not enforced; the North Vietnamese captors considered Americans political criminals instead of prisoners of war. Following Operation Homecoming in 1973, these prisoners of war were released; 114 died before returning home and more than 200 were reported as Missing in Action.
As a tribute to the Prisoners of War during the Vietnam War and the soldiers recorded as Missing in Action following Operation Homecoming, a black granite bench was added to the Wichita Veteran’s Memorial Park. The National League of Families POW/MIA emblem is inscribed on the bench, remembering all the POW’s and those MIA from the Vietnam War with Kansas roots. The front of the bench reads: “You Are Not Forgotten”, a final salute to those who never returned home.