On August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, recognizing the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag and designating it “as a 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.” Beyond Southeast Asia, it has been a symbol for POW/MIAs from all American Wars.
With the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act during the first term of the 105th Congress, the POW/MIA Flag was specified to fly each year on:
- Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday in May
- Memorial Day – Last Monday in May
- Flag Day – June 14
- Independence Day – July 4
- National POW/MIA Recognition Day – Third Friday in September
- Veterans Day – November 11
The original design for the flag was created by Newt Heisley in 1972. The National League of Families then-national coordinator, POW wife Evelyn Grubb, oversaw its development and also campaigned to gain its widespread acceptance and use by the United States government and also local governments and civilian organizations across the United States.
The flag is black, and bears in the center, in black and white, the emblem of the league. It features a white disk bearing in black silhouette the bust of a man (Jeffery Heisley), watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire; above the disk are the white letters POW and MIA framing a white 5-pointed star; below the disk is a black and white wreath above the white motto: “You are not Forgotten.” The POW/MIA was flown over the White House for the first time in September 1982. The flag has been altered many times; the colors have been switched from black with white – to red, white and blue – to white with black; the POW/MIA has at times been revised to MIA/POW.
Cotton. Approx 3ft by 5ft