POW/MIA FLAG

I am the flag of thousands that never came home!
I am the empty face of the comrade in arms that you have left behind.
My colors are Black and White; there is no gray area with me.
I am either behind a barbwire fence, with a watchtower over me, or lying in a shallow grave in a foreign land.
There was a time when I was flown throughout this country, but now you hardly ever see me.
I fly at Veterans Halls, Memorials, and the houses of those that still Remember me.
I am quickly fading from your memory.
I am the Forgotten One!
I was spawned out of WAR; I should NEVER have been born!
Is it because of that, most of you turn your head in shame when you see me?
Or is it because you are trying to forget me?
Is it that easy to forget a friend, a comrade, or a loved one?
Tell me what I did that was so wrong, that I might know why you have left me here all these years after my
Brothers have all gone home.
Why must I labor for my captures, Day after Day?
Why do I lie in a shallow grave in a foreign land, where No One comes to visit me?
Why has my country FORSAKEN ME, and the people I fought for FORGOTTEN ME?
What did I do to deserve this from MY COUNTRY?
TELL ME WHY!
I just want you to know!
I AM STILL HERE!
Bring me HOME to the land I was born in, and the Country I so PROUDLY Served!
Dear GOD, bring me HOME!
“BRING THEM HOME or SEND US BACK”
By Stubby
Viet Nam Vets / Legacy Vets MC


 

The POW/MIA Flag

The POW/MIA flag is an American flag designed as a symbol of citizen concern about United States military personnel taken as prisoners of war (POWs) or listed as missing in action (MIA). The POW/MIA flag was created by the National League of Families and officially recognized by the Congress in conjunction with the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, “as the symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation.”

 

History

In 1971, while the Vietnam War was still being fought, Mary Hoff, the wife of a service member missing in action and member of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for a symbol of U.S. POW/MIAs, some of whom had been held in captivity for as many as seven years. The flag is black, and bears in the center, in black and white, the emblem of the League. The emblem was designed by Newt Heisley, and features a white disk bearing in black silhouette the bust of a man (Jeffery Heisley), watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire; above the disk are the white letters POW and MIA framing a white 5-pointed star; below the disk is a black and white wreath above the white motto:

YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN

The flag has been altered many times; the colors have been switched from black with white – to red, white and blue – to white with black; the POW/MIA has at times been revised to MIA/POW.

On March 9, 1989, a league flag that had flown over the White House on the 1988 National POW/MIA Recognition Day was installed in the U.S. Capitol rotunda as a result of legislation passed by the 100th Congress. The league’s POW-MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the rotunda, and the only one other than the Flag of the United States to have flown over the White House. The leadership of both Houses of Congress hosted the installation ceremony in a demonstration of bipartisan congressional support.

On August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, recognizing the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag and designating it “as a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation.” Beyond Southeast Asia, it has been a symbol for POW/MIAs from all U.S. wars.

 

Flag Use

With the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act during the first term of the 105th Congress, the POW/MIA Flag was specified to fly each year on:

  • Armed Forces Day Third Saturday in May

  • Memorial Day Last Monday in May

  • Flag Day June 14

  • Independence Day July 4

  • National POW/MIA Recognition Day Third Friday in September

  • Veterans Day November 11

The POW/MIA Flag will be flown on the grounds or the public lobbies of major military installations as designated by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, all Federal National Cemeteries, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House, the United States Post Offices and at official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, and Director of the Selective Service System. Civilians are free to fly the POW/MIA Flag whenever they wish.

In the U.S. armed forces, the dining halls, mess halls and chow halls display a single table and chair in a corner draped with the POW-MIA flag as a symbol for the missing, thus reserving a chair in hopes of their return.

Other color patterns exist: the Orange and Black pattern was run by Outpost flags at the time of Harley Davidson’s 100th anniversary, so that the bikers would help keep the issue alive and in the forefront of American politics. There are Red and White versions, which some say are to cover more recent military actions, but this is not official policy. There are Black and Red versions available as well.