AMERICAN LEGION POST 414
LAWRENCEVILLE, NEW JERSEY
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)
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.
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
Civilians are free to fly the POW/MIA flag whenever they wish.
The flag, to this day, is also still flown in front of most fire stations, police stations and most veterans' organizations chapters all across the United States, and is almost always present at most local and national veterans events in the United States. It is also commonly flown beneath the American flag in front of private businesses.[ Therefore the flag remains visible to millions of Americans on a daily basis.
When displayed from a single flagpole, the POW/MIA flag should fly directly below, and be no larger than, the United States flag. If on separate poles, the U.S. flag should always be placed to the right of other flags (the viewer's left; the flag's own right). On the six national observances for which Congress has ordered display of the POW/MIA flag, it is generally flown immediately below or adjacent to the United States flag as second in order of precedence.
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.