National Missing Persons Day
It might be surprising to learn that every day in the United States around 2,300 people are reported missing. So, annually on February 3rd, National Missing Persons Day focuses the country's attention long enough to recognize a missing person.
History of National Missing Persons Day
On May 25th, 1983, National Missing Persons Day was set up to honor and draw attention to all the missing person cases across the country. Approximately 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year, many without a trace. While many of these people, adults and children, there are still those who are never seen again.
What classifies someone as "missing"? Well, a missing person is someone whose whereabouts are unknown with no confirmation whether they're alive or dead. The uncertainty is especially traumatizing for the loved ones and friends of the missing person who are left questioning the safety of their loved one.
Many people may go missing voluntarily for a variety of reasons; they may be trying to escape from an abusive situation or a different kind but still very dangerous situation. Another reason someone may have gone missing is due to abduction. Though some cases of kidnapping occurs by strangers, most cases it's by someone the missing person knows or is at least familiar with in one way or another. Some missing person cases are without malicious intent or a means to escape, such as kidnapping or abusive situations, and are simply due to mental illnesses or dementia. The worst case scenario is that they may have lost their lives in a way that makes it difficult to confirm, such as natural disaster or at sea.
No matter the situation of a missing persons case, whether it was voluntary or involuntary, the cases are always investigated by police. Many cases in the U.S., voluntary search and rescue teams may be formed as a means to search for the missing person. These teams are especially useful and important in rescuing people who have disappeared on hiking trails.
National Missing Persons Day Timeline
In 1984, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is established by the U.S. Congress. This organization is a non-profit organization that works to find and reunite missing children with their families.
AMBER Alert, America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, is set up in 1996 to alert U.S. citizens by sending messages to the public to get their help in finding missing children. This amazing tool was created as a legacy to 9-year old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Tx and then brutally murdered.
In 1996 the International Commission on Missing Persons is established due in part to President Clinton. This intergovernmental organization assists people who have gone missing because of war, human rights issues, or natural disasters.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, otherwise known as NamUs began in 2003 in the U.S, provide more information to the Missing Persons Task Force.
How to Observe National Missing Persons Day
1. Share information about missing people
You never know who might have a lead, big or small, it's usually the things you deem unimportant that just might make the difference. So if there are pictures and information about missing people that you come across, make sure to share them.
2. Donate to a charity
The N.C.M.E.C and charities alike work hard to find missing children and always need support. You can do your part by donating what you can spare.
3. Volunteer with search and rescue teams.
With the help of your community, you can set up or join an established search and rescue team so you can swing into action if anyone from your area ever goes missing.
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