IRON MOUNTAIN — The third Friday in September is National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

Veterans and community members gathered to honor and remember those soldiers in Iron Mountain Friday.

“As we’re flying over the channel [The English Channel], I could look down into the channel and see the boats. It looked like you could go from one boat to the other boat into Normandy without getting wet,” World War II veteran and POW Glenn Johnson said, who gave the keynote speech during the ceremony.

Johnson told the story of his capture by the Germans after paratrooping in the D-Day invasion.  He spent six months as a prisoner of war until he and two other soldiers escaped.

“Every time I say I escaped, everybody thinks of tunnels and barbed wire. I took the easy way out, I walked through the front gate,” he said. “There were three of us POW’s, one German guard by the name of Otto, a donkey, and a cart.  We walked out, we were going after firewood for the barracks.  They had asked for volunteers earlier in the morning and so the three of us volunteered.”

“And when we got up there cutting the wood, it started snowing real hard and I told George and Wally [the two other POW’s], ‘I don’t know about you guys but with this snow they can’t track us, I’m taking off’.  And which we did. I started off and pretty soon the other two are with me.  Otto the guard—I don’t know where he was, but he was nowhere around so we did get away.  That’s the way it was an easy escape for us.”

He and his fellow soldiers roamed around Germany and Czechoslovakia for a few months until they were found after a British plane was shot down.

Johnson said the Lord has been very good to him throughout his lifetime.

“I never thought I’d see 18 and now I’m 90 right now,” he said. “And I expect to see a few more years. I’ve already made plans for my 100th birthday.”

Seven POW’s were in attendance for the ceremony.  The ceremony also featured a few readings, a 21 gun salute, and the playing of Taps.