As we approach Independence Day, I think it is a good idea to re-familiarize with the history of The P.O.W. / M.I.A. Flag. Here at K and G Cycles (www.kandgcycles.com) feel even though we are celebrating our Indepemdence, we need to remember those that have gone off to War defended our freedom and have never come back or have never been heard from again. So here is a brief history of the origin of that flag.
In 1971, MIA wife and National League of Families member Mrs. Michael Hoff recognized the need for a symbol for the nation’s POW/MIA. Determined, Mrs. Hoff contacted Norman Rivkees, then Vice-President of Annin & Company flag makers with her idea. Believeing in her and the need for such a flag, the company commissioned WWII veteran and advertising firm creative director, Newton Heisley to design an appropriate flag to stand as a beacon, as well as a symbol to honor them. Heisley set to work, and sketched several designs based on his memories as a wartime pilot. The design that chosen portrays the silhouette of a man’s head, and barbed wire and a watch tower in the background. Underneath the design is the motto, “You Are Not Forgotten.” After receiving overwhelming approval from The National League of Families, the flags were manufactured and distribution began.
In 1990, The 101st Congress officially recognized the POW/MIA flag, and under Public Law 101-355, 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 the families and the nation.” In conjunction with the new law, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is the third Friday of September. The flag flies over the White House every year on this day and is the only flag, with the exception of the American Flag, to have ever flown at the White House. The flag also flies, continually, over the rotunda of the Capitol. The flag‘s message is spread through its visibility.
Though originally intended to serve as a symbol of the Vietnam War, the flag has also been hoisted toward the sky with regards to those POW/MIA Soldiers involved in the Middle East Theater of War. One particular Soldier the flag flies for is Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl who was captured by Taliban insurgents on June 30, 2009 and remains in captivity somewhere in Afghanistan to this day.
So whether or not you agree with war, understand that Soldier is defending your ability to live peacefully in this great nation and have those feelings. Also understand there are times when the enemy takes one of ours as a prisoner never to be heard from or seen again. Imagine the incredible hole left in their families lives. Now when you see that flag flying, you now know it is a flag paying honor to those missing or still in captivity, and the determination to bring them home.
From all of us in The K and G Family, we want to say “Bring ’em home, every last one!”