Fly POW/MIA Flag on Sept. 18 Recognition Day
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 17, 1998 The flag of the National League of POW/MIA Families will fly over the Pentagon Sept. 18 as the Defense Department observes National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen will host a ceremony, honoring former POWs, unaccounted for service members and civilians, and their families. Scheduled keynote speaker is retired Air Force Col. Norman A. McDaniel, a POW for more than six years after being shot down over North Vietnam in 1966. Also taking part will be military elements from the services, former POWs, MIA families, military associations and veterans groups.
In the fiscal 1998 defense authorization bill, Congress directed military and other federal activities to fly or display the league flag on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day. Congress in 1990 designated the league flag as the national symbol of concern and commitment for a full accounting of Americans missing in Southeast Asia.
"It's a day when all of us can pause and recognize the sacrifices made by American service members and civilians who responded when they were called, but who never came home," said Larry Greer, spokesman for DoD's POW/Missing Personnel Office in Arlington, Va. "It's also a day for remembering our commitment to the work we do to achieve the fullest possible accounting. It goes on around the world, every day, and we are bringing Americans home."
Greer said the POW/MIA flag also will be flown in Washington over the White House, U.S. Capitol, federal buildings, post offices and memorials. Major military installations and national cemeteries across the country and overseas are expected to follow suit, he said.
Ann Mills Griffiths, executive director of the League of POW/MIA Families, said the recognition day honors those who served as POWs and those still unaccounted for. "The day also serves to renew U.S. commitment to obtaining the fullest possible accounting for those still missing. It was never intended as a memorial commemoration," she noted.
The president proclaims National POW/MIA Recognition Day annually. Download this year's proclamation from the official White House Web site, www.whitehouse.gov, or from the DoD POW/Missing Personnel Office Web site, http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo. The National League of Families Web site is: http://www.pow- miafamilies.org.