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Georgia Southwestern hosts POW/MIA Convocation, keynote speaker recalls his time as former prisoner of war

Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) and Andersonville National Historic Site held the 14th annual Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Convocation on Wednesday, September 18 in GSW’s Convocation Hall. Former prisoner of war Colonel Robert Certain (ret.) served as the featured speaker.

The convocation was held in conjunction with the POW/MIA Recognition Day events, which honor service members who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. This year, Recognition Day will be observed on Friday, September 20 at the park’s National Prisoner of War Museum.

Born in Savannah, Col. Certain graduated from Emory University in Atlanta with a degree in History and a commission in the US Air Force. As a B-52 navigator, he flew 100 missions over Southeast Asia in 1971 and 1972. He was shot down and captured in December 1972 and held as a POW until the war ended.

Following the Vietnam War, he attended the School of Theology, an Episcopal Church seminary in Sewanee, Tennessee, and was ordained as a priest in 1976 after he received his Master of Divinity degree. In 1990, he was awarded his Doctor of Ministry degree from the School of Theology and served as a military chaplain in the Air Force.

When former President Gerald R. Ford died in late 2006, Col. Certain led all the memorial services and presided at his burial in Michigan. Today, Col. Certain serves as the National Commander of the American Ex-Prisoners of War (AXPOW) organization. 

Andersonville National Historic Site is located 10 miles south of Oglethorpe, GA and 10 miles northeast of Americus, GA on Georgia Highway 49. The national park features the National Prisoner of War Museum, Andersonville National Cemetery and the site of the historic Civil War prison, Camp Sumter. Andersonville National Historic Site is the only national park within the National Park System to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war.

For more information on these events and the park, visit Andersonville’s website.