POW/MIA Flag to Fly Year-Round at Federal Offices Due to Bipartisan, Bicameral Effort
A bipartisan, bicameral proposal, which passed in the House last month and the Senate earlier this year, was signed by President Donald Trump on Nov. 7. The National POW/MIA Flag Act was introduced into the House in March 2019 by Rep. Jack Bergman, Michigan Republican, and Rep. Chris Pappas, New Hampshire Democrat. A bipartisan group of senators, led by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), also introduced a similar proposal in the Senate.
The flag – made in 1972 for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War – has been flown at numerous federal locations over the years, but typically only mandatory on special occasions and holidays (Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day in May, Flag Day, July 4, POW/MIA Recognition Day in September and Veterans Day).
The POW/MIA flag, first appeared during the Vietnam War, includes the silhouette of a U.S. service member, head bowed, with a guard tower and a strand of barbed wire behind them. The acronyms “POW” and “MIA” hover above him. Beneath him are the words: “You are not forgotten.”
The proposal, made to honor the more than 82,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted for, requires that all major federal institutions fly the POW/MIA flag year-round.
“The POW/MIA flag will now fly at all major federal institutions as a visual and symbolic reminder that we will never forget those who served our nation and have not yet come home,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton said in an interview. “I was very pleased to sponsor this legislation in the Senate, and I’m glad that the president has signed the bill into law.”
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren watched while growing up in Oklahoma, as her family members answer the call to serve.
“All three of my veteran brothers came home safe after their service, but many do not,” Warren said in a news release. “This bipartisan law ensures that the POW/MIA Flag is consistently and prominently displayed and that we never forget those service members who have not returned home.”
Veterans advocates praised the move as an important message to the entire country.
“This is a historic victory for every man and woman who courageously defended this nation and remain unaccounted for,” Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander William “Doc” Schmitz said in a release.