A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
America has been blessed by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered the call to defend our country and protect liberty around the world. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we honor a special group of patriots: those who have been prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. We remain forever in their debt, and we renew our commitment to them and to their families never to rest until we have accounted for every missing service member.
To commemorate this day, the National League of Families POW/MIA flag is flown over the White House, the Capitol, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and other locations across our country. This flag is an enduring symbol that reflects our solemn commitment to our courageous service members who have been imprisoned while serving in conflicts around the world and to those who remain missing. America will always remember these heroes, and we underscore our pledge to achieve the fullest possible accounting for every missing member of our Armed Forces.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 21, 2007, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in honoring and remembering all former American prisoners of war and those missing in action who valiantly served our great country. I also call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and private organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second. GEORGE W. BUSH
History of the POW/MIA Flag
In 1971, Mrs. Michael Hoff, an MIA wife and member of the National League of Families, recognized the need for a symbol of our POW/MIAs. 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 (PRC), as a part of their policy to provide flags to all United Nations members states. Mrs. Hoff found Mr. Rivkees very sympathetic to the POW/MIA issue, and he and an Annin advertising agency employee, designed a flag to represent our missing men. Following League approval, the flags were manufactured for distribution.
On March 9, 1989, an official League flag that flew over the White House on National POW/MIA Recognition Day 1988 was installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation passed overwhelmingly during the 100th Congress. In a demonstration of bipartisan Congressional support, the leadership of both Houses hosted the installation ceremony.
The League's POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda where it will stand as a powerful symbol of national commitment to America's POW/MIAs until the fullest possible accounting has been achieved for U.S. personnel still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.
On August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, which recognized the League's POW/MIA 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 unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation".
The importance of the League's POW/MIA flag lies in its continued visibility, a constant reminder of the plight of America's POW/MIAs. Other than "Old Glory", the League's POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever to fly over the White House, having been displayed in this place of honor on National POW/MIA Recognition Day since 1982.
Passage by the 105th Congress of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act required that the League's POW/MIA flag fly six days each year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day. It must be displayed at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, the headquarters of the Selective Service System, major military installations as designated by the Secretary of the Defense, all Federal cemeteries and all offices of the U.S. Postal Service. In addition to the specific dates stipulated, the Department of Veterans Affairs voluntarily displays our POW/MIA flag 24/7, and the National Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans and World War II Memorials were all recently required by Congress to display the POW/MIA flag daily, as do many State Capitols and other locations across the country.
This Week's Not Commented on Topic
SECRETARY NICHOLSON'S CONGRESSIONAL FAREWELL APOLOGIZES, THEN CITES ACHIEVEMENTS -- "We were not as sensitive...as we could have been...My heart has gone out to service members or veterans who seem to have slipped through the cracks." "My heart has gone out...," said VA Secretary Jim Nicholson. Has his heart gone out to all of the veterans who have had to wait for healthcare or wait for their claims to be processed because HE didn't request adequate funding for the VA? Has his heart gone out to the "Blue Water Navy" veterans who HE continues to fight in Court? Has his heart gone out to the Priority Group 8 veterans who remain cut off from VA benefits because HE has not allowed them back in the system?
--- Regards, Walt Schmidt