National POW/MIA Recognition Day

This year National POW/MIA Recognition Day is on September 16, 2022. The day designated to recognize POW/MIA Day is on the third Friday in September. It has been recognized on the third Friday in September since 1979. Before that time, there was not an official day to recognize the POW’s and MIA. The resolution passed by Congress and the President made it official. However, it took the families of more than 2,500 Vietnam War POW/MIAs to push for their full accountability.

POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is a time to remember the sacrifices that were made by the prisoners of war (POW) and the many servicemembers who are still missing in action (MIA). The first observance of POW/MIA Day took place at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C… It included a remembrance ceremony. Since that time, the official observance by the Department of Defense is located at the Pentagon. Other ceremonies to recognize POW/MIA Day occur at various military installations across the nation.

The need for a symbol of POW/MIAs was first recognized by Mrs. Michael Hoff, an MIA wife in 1970. She set the wheels in motion to have a flag designed to represent America’s missing soldiers. The POW/MIA Flag is the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. It is also the only other flag besides the American flag to fly over the White House.

On this National POW/MIA Recognition Day, let’s take a moment to think about the soldiers who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing, as well as their families.”

You Are Not Forgotten; the central phrase behind the POW/MIA remembrance movement. This movement has been going on since the days of my youth. I remember wearing, as many others wore, copper bracelets with the name of a POW or MIA soldier imprinted on it. It was an ever-present reminder to remember America’s prisoners of war and those who were (and still are) missing in action. During my time in high school, we were honored and proud to wear those bracelets and to remember our POW/MIAs.

As we recognize POW/MIA Day, let us take a look at the immense importance of this movement to remember those soldiers who have been listed as POW/MIAs.

American POW Numbers:

The following statistics are according to a Congressional Research Service report on POWs.

  • 130,201 World War II service members were imprisoned; 14,072 of them died.
  • 7,140 Korean War service members were imprisoned; 2,701 of them died.
  • 725 Vietnam War service members were imprisoned; 64 of them died.
  • 37 service members were imprisoned during conflicts since 1991, including both Gulf wars; none is still in captivity.

American MIA Numbers:

The MIA Numbers are according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency 83,114 Americans who fought in those wars are still missing. The list includes the following:

  • 73,515, from World War II (an approximate number due to limited or conflicting data)
  • 7,841 from the Korean War
  • 1,626 from Vietnam
  • 126 from the Cold War
  • 6 from conflicts since 1991.

These numbers are devastating. The POW/MIAs will never be forgotten. There are constant continuous efforts being made to find those soldiers (Men and women), to identify them and to bring them home. [As a side note, I am very fortunate that my family members who served in the various wars came home alive. My maternal grandfather came home from France during World War I; he was wounded during the war, but thankfully he came home. My father and his brother came home from the Korean Warl; my uncle was wounded during the conflict. My husband (deceased in 2018) and his older brother came home alive from the Vietnam War. I know my husband suffered from PTSD due to the effects of what he went through during the conflict. My younger son suffers from PTSD from his time served in Afghanistan; but he came home alive unlike many others.]

I urge everyone to take a moment to remember the extreme sacrifices which were made by our POW/MIAs and the pact America made to them. That we will take care of them, and no matter how much time passes they will make it home. Let us Never forget our POW/MIAs. Their sacrifices insured our Freedom.

Medina County Veterans Service Office

God Bless. Thank You! I appreciate y’all.

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