Some of the greatest
tragedies in the nation’s fight for freedom are the service members missing in
action and held as prisoners of war. There are currently over 1,600 personnel
missing and unaccounted for following the Vietnam War, according the Department
of Defense. An additional 73,000 are still unaccounted for after World War II
and another 8,100 from the Korean War.
The National League of
POW/MIA Families, along with the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, conducts
ongoing work towards the release of prisoners and the recovery of remains of
missing service members from past conflicts around the globe. The need to draw
national attention to this cause led the League to seek help from a sympathetic
flag maker. The result was a poignant symbol that has become both a reminder
and an icon. While the flag was originally created to draw attention to the
unaccounted from the Vietnam War, it has grown to symbolize the missing from
every major conflict.
Created in the early
1970s, the black flag features a gaunt, bowed silhouette in front of a
watchtower, along with barbed wire and the words, “You are not forgotten.”
During the 100th
session of Congress in 1988, overwhelming bipartisan support led to the
permanent placement of a POW/MIA flag in the U.S. Capital Rotunda. It is the
only flag that is ever displayed in this space and it will remain there until a
full accounting of missing service members from the Vietnam War is achieved.
visibility is crucial to bringing home missing personnel, the POW/MIA flag also
flies over the White House, U.S. Capital, Departments of State and various
other government buildings for six appointed days each year. Outside of the
American flag, it is the only banner that is every displayed above the White
House. This powerful flag is also displayed around the clock at the Department
of Veterans Affairs and many of the war memorials.
Join the effort to keep
missing service members at the forefront of the nation’s thoughts by displaying
a POW-MIA flag at your home or office. Whether you choose to display it a few
days a year or around the clock, on flag poles or in memorial flag cases, along
or with other military flags, a made in USA POW-MIA flag serves as a reminder
that the war isn’t over until all the troops are home.