Muhammad Ali Center Facilitates Dialogue Concerning American Pows/Mias

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Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States, Let Freedom Ring POW/MIA organization and others participate.

The Muhammad Ali Center (http://www.alicenter.org) in downtown Louisville hosted a special meeting on October 18 to facilitate a renewed request for continued assistance from the Republic of Vietnam in accounting for missing American POWs/MIAs from the Vietnam War. These American soldiers were last known to be captive or missing but never returned after Operation Homecoming in 1973, when only 591 American prisoners of war were repatriated.

Attorney Arnold Beizer, President of Let Freedom Ring, Inc. (http://www.letfreedomringinc.com), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the cause of freedom and building awareness of the plight of American POWs/ MIAs from the Vietnam War, met with Nguyen Tam Chien, Republic of Vietnam’s Ambassador to the U.S. Mr. Beizer passed along a message addressed to the Vietnamese Ambassador from Mrs. Carol Hrdlicka, wife of missing American Air Force pilot Colonel David Hrdlicka whose F-105 aircraft was shot down over Laos on May 18, 1965. The meeting was facilitated by Michael Fox, President/CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center and Ben Jones, Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Louisville and Southern Indiana. The Ambassador’s visit coincided with a luncheon held at the Ali Center on October 17, sponsored by the World Affairs Council.

The discussions with Ambassador Nguyen focused on the need for determining the status of the missing men and progress in finding and returning American pilots like Colonel David Hrdlicka. Colonel Hrdlicka was known to be alive after Operation Homecoming according to declassified government documents and live sighting reports dating back to 1992. Russian news correspondent Ivan Loboda told Arnold Beizer he had personally seen American pilots including David Hrdlicka in captivity several years after Colonel Hrdlicka was captured in Laos.

In 1994, Muhammad Ali traveled to Vietnam on a mission arranged by Let Freedom Ring Inc. to help POW/MIA family members establish a “bridge of friendship” with the Vietnamese people. Vietnam officials in 1994 acknowledged the Champ’s visit with a friendly red carpet welcome and promised to assist in every way possible in determining the whereabouts of missing American servicemen who were not part of the contingent that returned home in the prisoner release of 1973. There are 1,800 Americans still unaccounted for from the war.

Ambassador Nguyen sympathized with the family members of Americans missing in action and promised to address this issue with appropriate Vietnamese government officials and respond with a progress report. He extended an invitation for Mr. Ali and officials from the Ali Center and Let Freedom Ring, Inc. to join him in Vietnam to further this humanitarian effort that would also necessitate the involvement of neighboring countries to Vietnam. President George W. Bush recently proclaimed National POW/MIA Day on September 15, 2006 and promised to continue efforts to obtain a full and final accounting of all American POWs.

In assisting Let Freedom Ring’s efforts in the past, Muhammad Ali attended a Let Freedom Ring Charity Music concert in Philadelphia to benefit American POW families. There, Ali championed the cause of the POWs and proclaimed, “The world is my home and every country is only a room. All people of all races and religions are my brothers and sisters… It is fitting that we all celebrate freedom and toll the Liberty Bell calling for the release of brothers and sisters held hostage around the world. Let’s let freedom ring and let every man return to his own family. Let’s set the captives free at the sound of the bell.”

About Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center is an international cultural and educational center that is inspired by the ideals of Muhammad Ali. Featuring a non-traditional visitor experience, educational and public programming, global initiatives and distance learning, the Ali Center will reach beyond its physical walls to fulfill its mission: To preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.

About Let Freedom Ring, Inc.

For two decades, Let Freedom Ring, Inc. has promoted the cause of freedom and championed the plight of America’s Prisoners of War (POWs) and those Missing in Action (MIAs). Informing and educating Congress and the President on the unsolved POW/MIA issue is just one of Let Freedom Ring's primary focuses as well as sponsoring media events held to generate much needed media coverage for the POW/MIA issue. However, the principal mission of Let Freedom Ring is to produce and provide music from the heart of America bringing a message of freedom to the masses.

Contacts:

Arnold Beizer

Let Freedom Ring, Inc.

(561) 368-1019 or

(860) 547-0440

http://www.letfreedomringinc.com

Stacy Arnett

Muhammad Ali Center

(502) 992-5318

http://www.alicenter.org

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