NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia family received a special honor this Memorial Day during a special ceremony held on board USS Wisconsin in Norfolk.
Colonel Charles Rowley was declared dead by the U.S. Government, but is still considered missing by his family.
“I feel that our government has used human beings as disposable weapons,” his daughter, Patricia Rowley told WAVY.com.
She was just 13 years old when she got word that her father, an aviator, was shot down over Laos in 1973. In 1987, LIFE magazine printed two pictures: one of her father and mother and another of a man she believes to be him being held in Laos.
“The article talks about how they brought it into the United States, they were advised by Laotian to not give it to the government but to have it published.
There’s no doubt in her mind it’s him.
“We’ve done a photo analysis and it’s 93 percent positive so yes I’m convinced that’s my father,” she said.
Because the family disputes his death they have waited for years to receive an Honor and Remember Flag. Monday, Patricia received the personalized flag at the ceremony conducted by the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Veterans Affairs.
Patricia still fights for the government to acknowledge her father’s status, and what she considers to be their fault for not bringing him home, but with the flag she finds some peace for both her father’s fight and her own.
“The POW/MIA group has reached one goal and that is they will not be forgotten and that’s the most important thing to me,” she said.