"We recognize there's more work to do, more families who deserve closure, and many more warriors who deserve proper military honors and recognition for their selfless service," Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday during a Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day ceremony on the Pentagon lawn.
Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said in a statement more than 83,000 Americans were still listed as POWs or MIAs.
Winnefeld noted that nearly 8,000 U.S. troops are missing in action from the Korean war, "names that are a testament to the inscription on the Korean War Memorial: 'Freedom is not free.'"
Winnefeld said the Pentagon's commitment through its Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command has been yielding results, particularly when aided by technological advances.
"Today we recommit ourselves to that work and to our promise to our families that we will keep our promise to their loved ones," he said.
JPAC's work is challenging and "their cause is worthy," Miller said.
"Those who never made it home hold a special place in our hearts, and it is the responsibility of the living to give them a proper resting place here at home on American soil," the congressman said.
"We are committed to finding all 83,000 POW/MIA and bringing them back to the home they sacrificed so much to defend, and to give their families an answer."
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he was mindful "that when America goes to war, we run the risk of losing our servicemen and women to enemy capture."
"My heart goes out to the families of those who remain missing, often for decades. They deserve to be remembered," Romney said in a statement. "And the best way to show our remembrance is by never ceasing in our quest to find them."