The History of National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The History of National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Posted by Hayley Adams on Sep 15th 2023

Every year, on the third Friday in September, the United States observes National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It's a day of solemn reflection and remembrance, dedicated to honoring the sacrifices and bravery of American prisoners of war (POWs) and those who are still missing in action (MIA). This meaningful observance has a rich history dating back to a time when the nation felt a deep need to acknowledge and pay tribute to these courageous individuals.

The History

The roots of National POW/MIA Recognition Day can be traced back to after the Vietnam War. The war, which dragged on from 1955 to 1975, saw thousands of American service members taken as POWs and thousands more declared MIA. The uncertainty surrounding these soldiers weighed heavily on the nation.

In 1979, Congress passed a bill designating the first national observance of POW/MIA Recognition Day on July 18, 1980. This date was chosen due to it coinciding with the anniversary of the release of the last American prisoners of war from the Vietnam War in 1973. This inaugural observance was a momentous occasion, serving as a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who had endured years of captivity.

However, in 1986, the date was permanently moved to the third Friday in September, ensuring that this important day would not be overshadowed by other significant events and holidays.

Over the years, National POW/MIA Recognition Day has evolved into a day of national reflection and unity. It's a time when Americans across the country come together to pay their respects to POWs and MIAs and to express support for their return. Ceremonies are held at military installations, government buildings, and veterans' organizations, where the POW/MIA flag is prominently displayed alongside the American flag.

The POW/MIA Flag

The importance of the POW/MIA flag lies in its continued visibility, a constant reminder of our unreturned veterans. Other than "Old Glory," the POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever to fly over the White House.

If you’re looking for your own POW/MIA flag to fly, we have a great selection to choose from. Feel free email us or give us a call at 512-847-0010 if you have any questions about your current order or a future purchase! 

As we observe National POW/MIA Recognition Day each year, we pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of our captured and missing service members. We honor their sacrifice and the enduring promise that they will never be forgotten, ensuring that their legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of all Americans.