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2004 POW/MIA Poster En Route to Troops, Families, Vets

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2004 – -- "As the poster is unveiled, you will see the flag of freedom -- the American flag -- flying proudly. Its presence underscores our commitment, our pledge -- our solemn pledge -- to account for our missing wherever it takes us."

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Some 142,000 copies of the 2004 POW/MIA Recognition Day poster are being distributed to military installations and ships at sea worldwide and to veterans' organizations, Veterans Affairs medical facilities and family organizations. Photo courtesy of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office
  

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That's what Jerry D. Jennings, deputy assistant secretary of defense for prisoner of war and missing personnel affairs, told the audience during the recent unveiling of the 2004 National POW/MIA Recognition Day poster. The ceremony was held during the annual government briefing to families of service members missing in Southeast Asia, at the Crystal City Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Va.

In describing the poster's design, Jennings said, "You will see our fellow servicemen, once held in captivity, now awaiting their freedom.

"You will see a stark silhouette of men at war today atop a tank, with the somber black POW/MIA flag fluttering from the antenna," Jennings continued. "This flag reminds us all of the nation's promise to warriors past and present: We will bring you home.

"In the faces of the POWs we see the pain of uncertainty, yet defiance," Jennings noted. "Many seem to be asking, 'When are you coming?' (This is) symbolic of the more than 88,000 who remain unaccounted for from all conflicts.

The images span the decades, Jennings said. "They span the conflicts in which dedicated Americans have gone into harm's way. They speak of today's warrior on today's battlefields. They are drawn together, though, in these stark images."

He said the words "Wherever it takes us; however long it takes; whatever the cost" are a "solemn pledge."

Larry Greer, spokesman for the POW/Missing Personnel Office, said his organization has already started to receive requests for the poster. However, he added, veteran's organizations and military units are getting automatic distribution of the poster, as they do each year.

If organizations don't get enough posters through normal channels, they can request additional copies through Greer's office, he said. The poster also can be downloaded from the office's the Web site..

Greer noted that 142,000 posters were printed this year.

POW/MIA Recognition Day is set aside to honor the commitment and the sacrifices made by prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action, as well as their families.

The recognition day is one of six days out of the year that Congress has mandated flying the black POW/MIA flag over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations. The other days are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

By custom, POW/MIA Recognition Day usually is observed in Pentagon ceremonies on the third Friday in September. However, it has been moved in the past to avoid conflicts with religious observances. Consequently, this year's ceremony will be observed on a Tuesday, Sept. 14, out of respect for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.

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Related Sites:
DoD Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office

Click photo for screen-resolution imagePOW/MIA Recognition Day is one of six days specified by law on which the black National League of Families POW/MIA flag must be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations. Photo courtesy of National League of Families  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageJerry D. Jennings, deputy assistant secretary of defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs, unveils the 2004 National POW/MIA Recognition Day poster during the annual government briefing to families of service members missing in Southeast Asia, which was held at the Crystal City Hilton Hotel in Arlington, Va. Looking on is Kaye H. Whitley, DPMO's senior director for communications. Photo by Larry Greer  
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