American Legion Riders, American Legion Post 104, Aloha OR, Mike Graves Commander
"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, 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, along with Annin's advertising agency, 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, which flew over the White House on 1988 National POW/MIA Recognition Day, 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. With passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act during the first term of the 105th Congress, the League's POW/MIA flag will fly each year on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day on the grounds or in the public lobbies of major military installations as designated by the Secretary of the Defense, all Federal national cemeteries, the national Korean War Veterans Memorial, the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House, the United States Postal Service post offices and at the official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veteran's Affairs, and Director of the Selective Service System.
The House Resolution:
H.R.1119 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 (Passed by the House)
SEC. 1054. DISPLAY OF POW/MIA FLAG.
(a) REQUIRED DISPLAY- The POW/MIA flag shall be displayed at the locations specified in subsection(c) each year on POW/MIA flag display days.
Such display shall serve (1) as the symbol of the Nation's concern and commitment to achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans who, having been prisoners of war or missing in action, still remain unaccounted for, and (2) as the symbol of the Nation's commitment to achieving the fullest possible accounting for Americans who in the future may become prisoners of war, missing in action, or otherwise unaccounted for as a result of hostile action.
(b) DAYS FOR FLAG DISPLAY-(1) For purposes of this section, POW/MIA flag display days are the following:
(A) Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May.
(B) Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
(C) Flag Day, June 14.
(D) Independence Day, July 4.
(E) National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
(F) Veterans Day, November 11.
(2) In the case of display at United States Postal Service post offices (required by subsection (c)(8)), POW/MIA flag display days in any year include, in addition to the days specified in paragraph (1), the last business day before each such day that itself is not a business day.
(c) LOCATIONS FOR FLAG DISPLAY- The locations for the display of the POW/MIA flag under this section are the following:
(1) The Capitol.
(2) The White House.
(3) The Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
(4) Each national cemetery.
(5) The buildings containing the primary offices of--
(A) the Secretary of State;
(B) the Secretary of Defense;
(C) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and
(D) the Director of the Selective Service System.
(6) Each major military installation, as designated by the Secretary of Defense.
(7) Each Department of Veterans Affairs medical center.
(8) Each United States Postal Service post office.
(d) COORDINATION WITH OTHER DISPLAY REQUIREMENT- Display of the POW/MIA flag at the Capitol pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (c) is in addition to the display of that flag in the Rotunda of the Capitol required by Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 of the 101st Congress, agreed to on February 22, 1989 (103 Stat. 2533).
(e) REQUIREMENTS CONCERNING DISPLAY AT SPECIFIED LOCATIONS- (1) Display of the POW/MIA flag at the buildings specified in paragraphs (1), (2), (5), and (7) of subsection (c) shall be on, or on the grounds of, each such building.
(2) Display of that flag pursuant to paragraph (5) of subsection (c) at the buildings containing the primary offices of the officials specified in that paragraph shall be in an area visible to the public.
(3) Display of that flag at United States Postal Service post offices pursuant to paragraph (8) of subsection (c) shall be on the grounds or in the public lobby of each such post office.
(f) POW/MIA FLAG DEFINED- As used in this section, the term `POW/MIA flag' means the National League of Families POW/MIA flag recognized officially and designated by section 2 of Public Law 101-355 (36U.S.C. 189).
(g) REGULATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION- Within 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the head of each department, agency, or other establishment responsible for a location specified in subsection (c) (other than the Capitol) shall prescribe such regulations as necessary to carry out this section.
(h) PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OF FLAGS- Within 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of General Services shall procure POW/MIA flags and distribute them as necessary to carry out this section.
If flying the flag from ONE FLAG POLE, the POW/MIA flag is flown directly below the National Colors and above any state flag.
* If flying National, POW/MIA and State flags from TWO poles, the POW/MIA flag should be flown from the same pole as the National Colors, and beneath the American Flag, with the state flag flying from the pole to the left.
* If flying flags from three poles, the National Colors occupy the place of prominence (the right), with the POW/MIA flag immediately to the left of the US Flag, and the state flag to the left of the POW/MIA flag.