Remembering the importance of national POW/MIA day

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Robert Reagan
  • 31st Communications Squadron

Most military members know that our nation has a National Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Recognition Day. What they may not know is that until July 18, 1979, no commemoration was held to honor America's POW/MIAs - those returned and those still missing and unaccounted for from our nation's wars.
That first year, resolutions were passed in the Congress and a national ceremony was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day legislation was introduced yearly, until 1995. In that year Congress deemed that it would no longer consider legislation designating special commemorative days. The president now signs a proclamation each year.
Subsequently, the National League of Families made an an effort to accommodate all returned POWs and all Americans still missing and unaccounted for from all wars. It proposed the third Friday in September, a date not associated with any particular war and not in conjunction with any organization's national convention, as a day of recognition. This year, today is that day.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies are now held throughout the nation and around the world. It is observed on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools, churches, national veteran and civic organizations, and police and fire departments.
The League's POW/MIA flag is flown, and the focus is to ensure that America remembers its responsibility to stand behind those who serve our nation and do everything possible to account for those who do not return.
To find out more information, or to get involved with helping recover our nation's missing in action, visit The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia Web site at