Memorial flags are most often used in the U.S. to honor veterans. One of the most common among these is the POW/MIA flag, which came into being as a result of the high number of troops who were imprisoned or went missing during the Vietnam War. If you’re considering raising one of these flags in honor of someone you love, consider the many facets of this memorial flag and its important history.
What Is the POW/MIA Memorial Flag?
What Does It Look Like?
The POW/MIA flag is one of the most recognizable memorial flags in the U.S. This black and white memorial flag depicts the silhouette of a prisoner of war in the foreground and shows a guard tower and barbed wire in the distance. Above the image are the acronyms, "POW/MIA," and just below it reads the phrase, “You Are Not Forgotten.”
What Is Its History?
POW stands for prisoner of war, and MIA means missing in action. The POW/MIA flag was created in the early 1970s by the National League of POW/MIA Families as a way to recognize and commemorate soldiers of the Vietnam War who were held in captivity or never accounted for. It is flown in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
What Are the Laws Governing Its Use?
According to the 1998 Defense Authorization Act, the POW/MIA memorial flag must fly on the following six days of the year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Veterans Day. Additionally, the law requires the display of the flag at the White House, U.S. Capitol, the Department of Veterans Affairs, federal cemeteries, post offices, and many other government buildings.
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