Sept. 19th is National POW/MIA Day -- a day to remember the service men and women who've been held prisoners of war or remain missing in action.

Friday morning, five former POW's, ages 80 through 99, were honored at the Waco VA Medical Center.

Thomas Curtis was one of the five POW's honored Friday.

The Vietnam War veteran and former Air Force pilot was shot down over north Vietnam in 1965. He was captured and held prisoner for seven and a half years.

Friday morning, Curtis and four other former POW's from World War II, the Vietnam War and Korean War gathered with friends and family to share their stories of sacrifice.

"It was a long time," Curtis said. "I endured lots of different things, a lot of boredom but also a lot of terror and pain. The best part of that whole experience is that it's history and it's all behind me."

Curtis refuses to call himself a "hero." Instead, the former prisoner of war said he was proud to have served his country.

"I did what I had to do because I had to do it," Curtis said. "Survival was the best thing I could do and return with honor and to be able to speak with you and the public today. I hold my head up high and say I did the best I could under those circumstances."

Nationwide, the Prisoner of War/Missing In Action recognition day is held on the third Friday in Sept since 1979.

According to the Defense Department, more than 1,7000 American military service members remain missing in action.

All military installations and government buildings flew the National League of Families' POW/MIA flag.