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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush designated Wednesday as a day of national recognition for former U.S. prisoners of war and pledged to work for the safe return of Americans captured in the Iraq war.
"These brave men and women in uniform follow in the footsteps of these former POWs who placed country above self to advance peace in a troubled world," Bush said in the proclamation he issued Tuesday.
Seven U.S. soldiers are POWs in Iraq, and U.S. officials are trying to determine their location. The Pentagon says it is holding more than 7,000 Iraqi POWs.
Bush's proclamation declares April 9 to be "National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day."
"As we honor our former POWs, we are reminded of our current POWs, captured in Operation Iraqi Freedom," the declaration said. "We will work to secure their freedom, and we pray for their speedy and safe return."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)