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P O W / M I A Information

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History of the P O W / M I A Flag


In 1971, Mrs. Michael Hoff, an MIA wife, recognized the need for a symbol representing our Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. Prompted by an article in the Jacksonville, Florida TIMES-UNION, Mrs. Hoff contacted Norman Rivkees, Vice-President of Annin & Company which had made a banner for the newest member of the United Nations, the People's Republic of China, as a part of their policy to provide flags to non-member nations. Mrs. Hoff found Mr. Rivkees very sympathetic to the P O W / M I A issue and he, along with Annin's advertising agency, designed a flag to represent our missing men.

Since its inception, this flag, which was designed on behalf of American P O W / M I As from the Vietnam War, has come to represent our missing countrymen and women from all wars.  The P O W / M I A flag has been ruled legally to be "public domain" - as is the American flag; therefore, it can not be claimed as the sole property of any organization or individual.

The P O W / M I A flag flew over the White House for the first time on National P O W / M I A Recognition Day, 1988.  On March 09, 1989, it was installed in the United Stated Capitol Rotunda. This occurred as a result of the legislation passed overwhelmingly during the 100th Congress and, additionally, in a rare demonstration of bipartisan Congressional support, the leadership of both Houses hosted the installation ceremony.

Further, by joint Congressional Resolution, the P O W / M I A flag - the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda - stands as a powerful symbol of national commitment to American Prisoners of War and Missing in Action. The P O W / M I A flag's importance lies in that.

On August 18, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, which recognized the P O W / M I A flag and designated it "as the symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation."

The continued visibility of this symbol as a constant reminder of the plight of America's P O W / M I As. Other than "Old Glory", the P O W / M I A flag is the only flag to fly over the White House, and has flown in this place of honor in every national P O W / M I A Recognition Day since 1982. In addition, the P O W / M I A flag flies on Veterans Day and Memorial Day at the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, on Federal and State buildings, at each National Cemetery, and at military installations worldwide.  It also has flies at countless additional locations throughout the nations every day of the year.

Those Americans who fly the P O W / M I A flag do so to demonstrate their loyalty and sincere dedication to all Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, and to their return - both alive and dead.

P O W / M I A Remembrance Service

Before we begin our program, we will recognize our POW's and MIA's.

We call you attention to this small table which occupies a place of honor near the head table.

A photograph of a small table set as described in the remembrance ceremony.

This table is set for those who cannot be with us...those who have given their all for the sake of our country.

Some fell in anguish and are resting on foreign soil. Some we know were captured but were not released to rejoin their loved ones. Some simply disappeared. They may be lost from our fold, but they are not forgotten.

The table is small, set for only one. It symbolizes the frailty of one lone individual against many oppressors.

The tablecloth is white for the purity of fighting man's intentions in responding to their country's call to arms

The single red rose represents the families who keep the faith awaiting our comrade's return.

A red ribbon tied prominently on the vase is reminiscent of the red ribbons worn by thousands bearing witness of an unyielding determination to demand a proper accounting of our missing.

A slice of lemon on the bread plate reminds us of our comrades bitter fate.

The salt beside it is symbolic of the families' tears as they wait.

The glass is inverted...they cannot toast with us this night.

The chair is empty...they are not here.

The napkin is unfolded as though used, as the lives of our fellow soldiers were used up in the service of our country.

A solitary red candle stands straight and tall, proud like our comrades it is red for the blood they shed and stands alone as they have stood. It is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to illuminate their way home, away from their captors, to the open arms of a grateful nation.

In our frivolity, let us remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy here tonight. They may be gone, but let them never be forgotten. Let us pray to the supreme commandant that all of our comrades will soon be back within our ranks.

Let us remember.

 

The Goals of the VVA Chapter # 103 
Regarding the POW-MIA Issue


Assist in proving the presence of live American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia.
Encourage the release of all Americans still held captive in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and throughout the world.
Heighten the awareness of the American people about the fate of our POWs and MIAs
Urge the government every resource at it command to secure the release of our POWs and the accounting of those listed as Missing in Action.
Create and maintain public, government, and media consciousness of live American POWs in Southeast Asia.
Encourage the American people to call for the immediate resolution of this issue through a Presidential Commission, headed by H. Ross Perot, which will lead to the release of our POWs before its too late.



Vietnam Veterans
of America
Chapter 103
P.O. Box 675
Liverpool, NY 13088


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