POW/MIA Recognition Day, recognized third Friday of September
POW/MIA Recognition Day is commemorated on the third Friday of every September, a date that's not associated with any particular war. In 1979, Congress and the president passed resolutions making it official after the families of the more than 2,500 Vietnam War POW/MIAs pushed for full accountability.
The point of POW/MIA Recognition Day is to ensure that America remembers and shows that it stands behind those who serve, and to make sure the Nation does everything it can to account for those who have never returned.
During the first POW/MIA Recognition Day commemoration, a ceremony was held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., while the 1st Tactical Squadron from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia flew the missing man formation. Most ceremonies since then have been held at the Pentagon, and many smaller observances have cropped up across the nation and around the world on military installations.
The POW/MIA Flag
The traditional POW/MIA flag that's well-known across America was actually created many years before the remembrance day became official.
In 1971, a woman named Mary Hoff contacted a flag company near her home to see if a flag reminding people of POWs and the missing could be made. She was one of the many waiting to see if her husband, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Hoff, would ever return home after his plane had been shot down over Laos.
World War II pilot Newt Heisley designed the now-famous flag, which was made in black and white to represent the sorrow, anxiety and hope symbolized by the image of the gaunt man featured on it.
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