"You are Not Forgotten." A simple four word phrase that has a very deep and strong meaning behind it. The phrase itself has essentially been adopted by the POW/MIA remembrance movement. A movement that honors America's prisoners of war (POW), those who are still missing in action (MIA). Prisoners of War have been a normalcy of wars throughout the history of mankind, and the United States and our military is no different. Some of these heroes are fortunate to make it back home, while tens of thousands never have. In order to remember our Prisoners of War and the brave souls Missing in Action the third Friday of September is now known as POW/MIA Recognition Day.
POW/MIA Recognition Day
In 1979, Congress and the president passed resolutions after the families of more than 2,500 pushed for full accountability for POW/MIA's following the Vietnam War. The first day of recognition was commemorated by a ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington DC and a fly over in the "missing man formation" from the 1st Tactical Squadron from Langley Air Force Base. Since that first day of recognition, ceremonies continue to be held at the Pentagon and across the nation. This day of recognition is to ensure that Americans continue to stand behind all of those who serve and to do what we can to ensure accountability is held for those who have never returned.
By the Numbers
Without actually seeing and understanding the number of Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action, it's difficult to truly wrap our heads around the lives affected. A closer look at the POW numbers from a report in 2005 provide the following statistics: WWII 130,201, Korean War 7,140, Vietnam War 725 and from 1991-2005 37. The MIA numbers from 2022 are just as eerie: WWII 73,515, Korean War 7,841, Vietnam War 1,626, Cold War 126, 1991-2022 6. The effort to identify and bring home those missing in action is constant.
The POW Flag
The well known POW Flag was actually created years before it became official. The famous flag was designed by World War II Veteran Newt Heisley. The flag was made black and white to represent the sorrow, anxiety and hope symbolized by the image of the man featured in the center. Since 1982, the flag has flown just below the stars and stripes at the White House since 1982.
We thank all of our brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in our great military. We continue to pray and think of those who come home after combat and especially those who come home after enduring time as a Prisoner of War. In addition, we keep those Missing in Action in our prayers and hope families of those missing can find solace eventually.