It wasn’t obvious which was rosier, Harvey Mayhill’s outlook on Fort Mill rush hour traffic or his cheeks in the Friday afternoon sun.
Mayhill had the best view of cars traveling up and down Main Street, past Veterans Park. He held onto the large black flag staked beside him.
“I’m hoping they’ll have the best view of this,” he said.
Mayhill, 73, stopped by the park as part of a 24-hour vigil honoring prisoners of war and military missing in action. He began at Glencairn Gardens in Rock Hill and planned a final shift at Lakeview Memory Gardens near York. The U.S. Air Force veteran wasn’t concerned staying up so late, even planning a Saturday trip to Columbia for another military honor.
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But, Mayhill was quick to remind, the vigil wasn’t about what he could do.
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about these prisoners of war and missing in action.”
Mayhill wants more legislative attention to the 83,000 veterans missing from all wars. More needs to be done before access is limited or denied by foreign countries, he said.
“We need to bring them home,” Mayhill said.
Mayhill wiped sweat from his brow. Fort Mill made for a warmer stop than the gardens in Rock Hill, but even in his black MIA shirt, Mayhill had no intention of calling the event short. For many missing veterans, families never will have closure of knowing what happened or where remains lie. Or from seeing them returned to U.S. soil. But, Mayhill said, the effort is important still.
“Our nation needs to have closure,” Mayhill said, “knowing we have done our absolute best.”