As a veteran of the United States Army, this infuriates me, but you shouldn’t have to be a military veteran to say that this is just unacceptable. Those that are replacing the POW/MIA flag with ANY OTHER FLAG are just plain wrong, even if it is their “right”.
Government officials and in this case, members of Congress work for We the People, and it’s our taxpayer dollars paying for the disrespect shown by replacing these flags.
Let’s put things into a little perspective on “rights”. If you work for Cummins, your employee would deny you the “right” to fly a Caterpillar flag outside of your office. I am a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan and love their memorabilia. Would I be ok with a Missouri congressman replacing the POW/MIA flag with my beloved Cardinals flag? Not a chance!!!
This is in no way meant to be threatening because it’s not – but it’s just not a very good idea to get on the wrong side of our military veterans.
Read below and learn something. It is not included to make my point, just a historical reference.
PROTOCOL FOR THE POW/MIA FLAG OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES
The POW/MIA flag features a silhouette of a POW before a guard tower and barbed wire in white on a black field. “POW/MIA” appears above the silhouette and the words “You Are Not Forgotten” appear below in white on the black field. This black and white flag stands as a stark reminder of Americans still prisoner, missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and is now accepted nationally and internationally as the symbol of vigilance and remembrance for all POW and MIA’s.
1. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG AND THE UNITED STATES FLAG WITH OTHER FLAGS ON THE SAME FLAGSTAFF
When flying the POW/MIA flag on the same flagstaff as the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag should fly immediately below the United States flag. If the United States flag and a state flag and/or other flag or pennant will be flown along with the POW/MIA flag on the same flagstaff, the order from top to bottom should be: the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag, then the state flag or other flags, unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.
2. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS ON TWO ADJACENT FLAGSTAFFS
When flags are flown from two adjacent flagstaffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. The POW/MIA flag should be flown on the flagstaff with and below the flag of the United States, which should be at the peak of the flagstaff. The state flag (or other flag) on an adjacent flagstaff may not be placed above the flag of the United States or to its right (the viewer’s left) if the flagstaffs are of equal height.
3. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS ON THREE ADJACENT FLAGSTAFFS OF UNEQUAL HEIGHT
When flags are flown from three adjacent flagstaffs of unequal height, the United States flag should be hoisted first and lowered last. The POW/MIA flag should be flown on the flagstaff to the right (the viewer’s left) of the United States flag. State and other flags should be flown from the third flagstaff, unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.
4. DISPLAYING THE POW/MIA FLAG WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG AND OTHER FLAGS ON ADJACENT FLAGSTAFFS OF EQUAL HEIGHT
When flags are flown from adjacent flagstaffs of equal height, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last and no other flag should be flown to its right (the viewer’s left). The POW/MIA flag should be flown on the flagstaff to the immediate left (the viewer’s right) of the United States flag and state or other flags flown farther left, unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.
5. MARCHING WITH THE POW/MIA FLAG
When the POW/MIA flag is carried in procession by itself, it should be carried front and center ahead of a marching unit. When carried in procession abreast with the United States flag, the POW/MIA flag should be on the marching left of the United States flag (top illustration). When a line of flags follow the United States flag, the US flag is centered on the line. The POW/MIA flag should be on the marching right of the line of flags (bottom illustration), unless otherwise stipulated by your state flag code.
6. POW/MIA FLAG AND UNITED STATES FLAG IN CROSSED-STAFF DISPLAY
When displayed with the United States flag in crossed-staff format, the United States flag should be on the viewer’s left with its staff on top of the staff of the POW/MIA flag.
7. POW/MIA FLAG DISPLAYED ON A WALL OR BEHIND SPEAKER
When the POW/MIA flag is displayed on wall, such as behind a speaker’s platform, the flag must be displayed as shown.
8. POW/MIA FLAG DISPLAYED ON SPEAKER’S PLATFORM WITH THE UNITED STATES FLAG
When the POW/MIA flag is displayed with the United States flag on a speaker’s platform, the United States flag should be on the speaker’s right and the POW/MIA flag on the speaker’s left.
9. FLYING THE UNITED STATES AND POW/MIA FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF
When flying the United States and the POW/MIA flag at half-staff, they should first be elevated to peak position, held there momentarily, and then lowered to half-staff. At the day’s end, each should be again elevated to peak position before being lowered. If the flags are on different flagstaffs, the United States flag should be raised first and lowered last.
FEDERAL LAW ON FLYING THE POW/MIA FLAG
The Defense Authorization Act, Public Law 105-85, section 1082, signed by President Clinton on November 18, 1997, mandates that the U.S. Postal Service, the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, all national cemeteries in the Federal system, the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial must fly the POW/MIA flag on the following designated days each year:
- Armed Forces Day—the third Saturday in May
- Memorial Day—the last Monday in May
- Flag Day—June 14th
- Independence Day—July 4th
- National POW/MIA Recognition Day—the third Friday in September
- Veteran’s Day—November 11th
If any of these days fall on a non-business day, postal facilities are required to display the POW/MIA flag on the last business day before the designated day, as directed by Postal Bulletin 21967 dated March 12, 1998.
LEAGUE POLICY ON POW/MIA FLAG DISPLAY
For some time, there had been debate over when the POW/MIA flag should be flown, whether daily or on the specific six days noted in federal law. While not addressing the question of posting the flag at the national/federal level, League members at the 32nd Annual Meeting in June 2001, voted overwhelmingly in favor of the following resolution: “Be it RESOLVED that the National League of POW/MIA Families strongly recommends that state and municipal entities fly the POW/MIA flag daily to demonstrate continuing commitment to the goal of the fullest possible accounting of all personnel not yet returned to American soil.”
— Illustrated guide: Protocol for POW-MIA flag
–Complete instructions for displaying and respecting the United States flag can be found in–
the publication The Flag Code from The American Legion, National Americanism
Commission, Indianapolis, IN, USA