Memorial plaques honoring POWs and MIA soldiers uncovered at Lin - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Memorial plaques honoring POWs and MIA soldiers uncovered at Linn Park

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Fourteen memorial plaques honoring Birmingham soldiers who went missing in action or were prisoners of war are once again visible at their spot around a holly tree in Linn Park. Source: WBRC video Fourteen memorial plaques honoring Birmingham soldiers who went missing in action or were prisoners of war are once again visible at their spot around a holly tree in Linn Park. Source: WBRC video
James Carlton, Jr. went missing in 1967 while serving in the Vietnam War. Source: Family-released photo James Carlton, Jr. went missing in 1967 while serving in the Vietnam War. Source: Family-released photo
Carlton's sister, Jane Price, contacted officials after she couldn't find the plaque honoring her brother anywhere in Linn Park. Source: WBRC video Carlton's sister, Jane Price, contacted officials after she couldn't find the plaque honoring her brother anywhere in Linn Park. Source: WBRC video
Crews removed the mulch and dirt that had long since covered the plaques in Linn Park, making them visible once again. Source: WBRC video Crews removed the mulch and dirt that had long since covered the plaques in Linn Park, making them visible once again. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

James Carlton, Jr. was a captain in the U.S. Army when he served in Vietnam. He was a bombardier flying a night mission when he went missing in 1967.

"He'd gone up over the DMZ, the line where it became North Vietnam," his sister Jane Price recalled.

"He was in the process of bombing when the gentleman doing the ground-to-air missile block saw a brilliant orange explosion. His assumption was it had hit the mountain," Price said.

Captain Carlton was never heard from again.

"That is a really, really hard thing to deal with," his sister said.

In 1972, the city of Birmingham dedicated a holly tree in Linn Park as the Freedom Tree. At its base sit 14 plaques honoring Birmingham men who became prisoners of war or went missing in action while serving. That includes James Carlton, Jr. But when his sister came to visit the site before Christmas, she noticed a problem.

"Sadly enough, I couldn't find it and it frightened me. I thought they had pulled it up because it had been so long."

Concerned, she called Stanley Robinson with the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, alerting him to the problem.

"Honestly, I thought maybe she was mistaken," Robinson recalled. "Maybe she meant another park."

He had attended numerous events at the park and had never noticed the monument. He told Price he'd meet her there. And while walking around, Price found the plaques. They were still in the same location, but hidden under a mound of mulch and dirt. Robinson remembers what ran through his mind when he saw it.

"It was really, how could this have happened? How could this have happened?" he said.

Immediately, he called for the area to be cleared and all 14 of the plaques were revealed.

Tuesday, Robinson met with Price again in the park, in hopes of putting her mind at ease.

"I'm glad we were able to locate these for her and glad they were safe and sound and from this day forward, we'll take great care of those plaques," he said.

Jane Price is glad to see them, for her family and for other visitors.

"I hope they'll be acknowledgeable of it because it's a war, all wars are hard and this is one of the hardest. Freedom is hard to pay for," she said.

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