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National POW/MIA Recognition Day to be celebrated September 18, 2009

POW_MIA_flag The third Friday in September is honored as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The flag is flown in the full-staff position on this day. While the law addresses flying the POW/MIA flag on federal installations only (see the link above), civilians should fly the POW/MIA flag directly beneath the U.S. flag on the same pole. State flags should not be flown on the same pole on these occasions.

I am not a member of the National League of Families, but I think those who are would remind us all that is not an occasion of mourning. This is a day to be filled with hope and determination, and to remember that there is still much work to be done. From the League of Families website:

UPDATE:  September 2, 2009

AMERICANS ACCOUNTED FOR:  There are now 1,731 US personnel listed by the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO) as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  The number of US personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is now 852.  During the League’s 40th Anniversary Annual Meeting, a League member announced that she had just received confirmation from JPAC that remains recovered earlier had been identified as those of her brother, MSGT Donald C. Grella, USA, of Nebraska, listed KIA/BNR on December 28, 1965 in South Vietnam.  Also now accounted for from that same incident are WO2 Jesse D.  Phelps of Idaho and CPL Thomas Rice, Jr. of South Carolina, both also US Army and initially listed as KIA/BNR.  Three Air Force personnel whose names were released as accounted for are Capt Robert J. Edgar of Florida, listed MIA in Laos on 2/5/68, remains repatriated 5/27/97 and identified 4/28/09; Maj Curtis D. Miller of Texas, listed MIA in Laos on 3/29/72, remains repatriated 8/2/06 and identified 2/12/08; and LtCol Russell A. Poor of Indiana, listed MIA in North Vietnam on 2/4/67, remains repatriated 6/14/07 and identified 5/26/08.  To each of these families, the League offers understanding and the hope that these concrete answers bring long-awaited peace of mind.  Of the 1,731 men still missing, 90% were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control.

You can help:  National League of Families

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Last week I wrote about the POW/MIA flag and its unique flying status. The information in that post was incomplete, and needs to be clarified.

The POW/MIA flag, of course, can be flown anytime, all the time, 24/7 if you want (so long as it is properly lighted).

But flying it in second position in order of precedence to the United States flag ONLY occurs on six days a year.

Those six days are:

  • Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May
  • Memorial Day, the last Monday in May
  • Flag Day, June 14
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the third Friday in September
  • Veterans Day, November 11

Except for the six days mentioned above, on all other days of the year the POW/MIA flag, which is an organization flag, flies LAST in precedence.

To recap: The POW/MIA flag only flies next to the U.S. flag on the six days shown above.

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The Daily Flag News—September 21, 2007

Lots of news about flags today. We start with some space trivia, head to a Japanese flag story, honor POW/MIA Recognition Day, more space trivia, view a captured flag, and finally, a letter from a soldier in Iraq. Busy, busy, busy. This should take you through the entire weekend on flag news.

Ten bits of trivia about the NASA Space program you might not know about. I have highlighted eight and nine, but all ten are interesting.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Space Exploration – US News and World Report
usnewsspace.jpg8. Although it may appear to be flying backward, the flag on the shuttle is positioned so as to appear as though it’s flying alongside the ship; this is done to be in accordance with the regulation for displaying the U.S. flag on a national vehicle so that the star field is positioned at the front of the vessel (or the nose cone end of the shuttle).

9. Flying American flags to space originated with the flight of the first American astronaut, Alan Shepard, in 1961. Elementary students from a Cocoa Beach, Fla., school purchased the flag for Shepard to carry onboard; the flag was rolled up and placed between cables behind Shepard’s head inside his Freedom 7 Mercury spacecraft. Onetime NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin said, “The American flags are a patriotic symbol of our strength and solidarity and our nation’s resolve to prevail.”

Sixty-two years has passed since Corporal Poulsen brought home a small prize from WWII. That prize, a Japanese flag, is now back with its original family. A nice story.

Utah family returns WWII flag taken from fallen soldier to Japan –
poulsen-mayashita.jpgU.S. Marine Corporal Ted Poulsen returned from World War II with honor and a few treasures to remind him of the courageous battles he fought. One of those items was a flag, found near the body of a brave Japanese officer. Now 62-years later and through a series of miracles, that flag has been returned to the Japanese family who lost its loved one so long ago.

POW/MIA Recognition Day is a day for flying the POW/MIA flag with the American flag. Bill Reynolds succeeded in encourging the City of Santa Clarita to fly that flag above City Hall today. Good job, Bill.

The Signal: News for Santa Clarita Valley, California
bill-reynolds-pow-mia-flag.jpegAnother flag is flying high at City Hall today – a flag that honors prisoners of war and service men and women still missing in action.

The flag’s formal name is the National League of Families’ POW/MIA and it was raised today in support of National POW/MIA Recognition Day across the United States.

Bill Reynolds of Santa Clarita served in Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division.

He approached City Hall officials about flying the flag after learning of the observance from other veterans online.

Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag on Sept. 21 and on five other days annually, including: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.

Reynolds said he’s happy just to see it flying in Santa Clarita.

Buzz Aldrin was prepared to conduct a Communion Service from the moon in 1969, but was prevented because of the possible lawsuits. I didn’t hear about this until yesterday when I read this story. Now you can own a piece of history, if you are the winning bidder.

News 8 Austin | 24 Hour Local News | TOP STORIES | Aldrin’s notes on handwritten card to be auctioned
news8aldrin.jpgDALLAS — A space-related auction by a Dallas company will include a handwritten note containing a Bible verse, but on a card that made it to the moon.

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 1969 had planned to broadcast a lunar Holy Communion service.

But Aldrin was asked not to read the verse publicly because of a legal challenge NASA faced from famed atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

He instead recited the verse during a private service with a communion kit from his church, Webster Presbyterian.

“Kill them so they won’t be trouble,” is the handwritten text on this Al-Qaeda flag now residing in the U.S. Military Museum. A good place for such a notorious flag.

AFP: Al-Qaeda flag featured at US military museum
al-qaedaflag.jpgTRIANGLE, United States AFP — A banner once displayed in front of an abandoned Al-Qaeda safehouse in Iraq has found a new home at a US military museum.

The three-meter-long 10-foot-long black flag, recovered by a battalion of marines in Fallujah in November 2004, is now on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia.

SGT Brandon W. Page is in Iraq, serving in the Army, and wrote this Letter to the Editor, and after reading it, you will see why I had to share it with you today.

Marion Daily Republican Online – News
mariondailyrepublican.jpgIf everyone had the opportunity to see how a third world country lives, you would realize how fortunate we are in America. I challenge you to do your part in making our country a better place. Send a letter to a random soldier serving in Iraq. Show them how much you appreciate them for what they do. Tell a spouse of a soldier or even a family whose soldier has paid the ultimate sacrifice, “Thank you for your sacrifice.” How many of you have an American flag flying high? Everyone should exercise their right to fly our flag.