A recently passed bill may amend existing law and soon require the POW/MIA flag to be flown alongside the American flag at several federal locations.
In March, Massachusetts Democratic Senator and 2020 Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren introduced the bipartisan bill, National POW/MIA Act, which has since passed through both houses of Congress with bipartisan support on Tuesday. According to Stars and Stripes, the bill is now headed to President Donald Trump’s desk where, if signed, would become law.
If the bill passes, buildings like the White House and the U.S. Capitol will be required to fly the pair of flags together. This would also be true at several specific memorials and certain federal buildings.
The current law requires that the POW/MIA Flag be flown just six days per year, such as Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day, and only on federal property, according to Congress.gov.
The POW/MIA flag honors the last five decades of military soldiers who fought and served but have remained lost or imprisoned overseas.
“As the sister of three veterans, I understand the importance of honoring the sacrifices of those who have fought courageously for our country,” Warren said.
Federal data suggests that as many as 81,000 American troops remain missing since the Second World War.
“We owe it to those service members and their families to ensure that our nation never forgets their sacrifices,” Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. said.
Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H. said, “The POW/MIA Flag is representative of profound courage and sacrifice. By proudly displaying this symbol outside of our federal buildings, memorials, and national cemeteries, we are reaffirming our commitment to those service members and their families who have sacrificed beyond measure.”
Pappas brought the bill before the House of Representatives.
“We will never be able to fully express our gratitude for the selfless service of men and women in uniform and their families, and that is all the truer for Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan D-NH, a co-sponsor of the bill.
“One way we can honor them at the U.S. Capitol and across the country is to display the POW/MIA flag alongside the American flag at government buildings and memorials. I’m glad that Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came together to pass this legislation and am looking forward to it being signed into law,” Hassan stated on her website.
Rolling Thunder, Inc. National; the National League of POW/MIA Families; Veterans of Foreign Wars; The American Legion; National Alliance of Families for the Return of America’s Missing Servicemen; and American Ex-Prisoners of War all endorse the bill.