CALAIS — Join Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9779 as its members stand watch over the POW-MIA flag at 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and remember those brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen who served as Prisoners of War or are considered Missing In Action on POW/MIA Day. The remembrance ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at the city’s Public Safety Building on North Street.
Reading the address will be CW3 Sherry Sivret, Maine Army National Guard, retired. All veterans are encouraged to attend and stand watch for a brief time.
By custom, POW/MIA is on the third Friday in September. National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of the six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations as an opportunity to pause and reflect on the service and sacrifice of so many who have served our country.
In 1970, Mrs Michael Hoff, an MIA wife and member of the National League of Families, recognized the need for a symbol of our POW/ MIAs. Prompted by an article in the Jacksonville, Florida, Times-Union, Mrs. Hoff contacted Norman Rivkees, Vice President of Annin & Company, which had made a banner for the newest member of the United Nations. Mrs. Hoff found Rivkees very sympathetic to the POW/MIA issue. He and an Annin advertising agency employee, Newt Heisley, designed a flag to represent our missing comrades. Following approval by the League’s Board of Directors at a meeting held in January 1972, POW/MIA flags were manufactured for distribution. Wanting the widest possible dissemination and use of this symbol to advocate for improved treatment for and answers on American POW/ MIAs, no trademark or copyright was sought. On March 9, 1989, an official League flag flown over the White House on National POW/MIA Recognition Day 1988 was installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation passed overwhelmingly during the 100th Congress. The League’s POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the US Capitol Rotunda where it stands as a powerful symbol of America’s determination to account for US personnel still missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.
On Aug. 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed US Public Law 101355, which recognized the League’s POW/MIA flag and designated it “the 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.” The importance of the League’s POW/MIA flag lies in its continued visibility, a constant reminder of the plight of America’s POW/MIAs.