Recognition Day


September 19, 2014 will be proclaimed by the President as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.  Over the past several years, all or most of the 50 states have proclaimed POW/MIA Recognition Day in conjunction with the national effort.  The League has asked each state to issue a proclamation, so please contact your Governor and ask for his/her support and a copy of your state’s proclamation!  Across the country, local POW/MIA ceremonies are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day.  Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt.  America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on continuing commitment to account as fully as possible for those still missing.  Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers.   Learn more:  Recognition Day-9-19-14

Ann Mills-Griffiths was the Keynote Speaker at the Air Force Memorial Recognition Day Ceremony Sept. 19, 2014

AMG Keynote Speaker AF Memorial 9-19-14                                       Missing Man Table AF Memorial 9-19-14                                                                     Bahir Hess, Billie Elliot & AMG at the AF Memorial 9-19-14

Bahar Hess, Billie Elliot and Ann Mills Griffiths


Remarks – Ann Mills-Griffiths

Air Force Memorial

September 19, 2014

POW/MIA Principles – Why They Matter

Very pleased to be here today, national POW/MIA recognition day, and appreciate being asked by Ms. Taylor.  All of us here today believe in standing behind those who serve out country, including those captured or who become missing.    

Over the years, since the 1973 end of active U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war, the league has worked hard, with many ups and down, both politically and in terms of policy, to press for serious efforts by our own government and expanded cooperation from foreign governments.    

Ending uncertainty and bringing facts to waiting families and our nation have been the league’s mission for over four decades.  During which i served over 30 years as executive director and now as volunteer chairman of the board, though still working in the office full time every day.

Our expectations are and always have been realistic.  We just want answers that, according to senior us officials over many years, can readily be provided — if Vietnam’s leaders continue to authorize more serious cooperation and responsiveness.

Overcoming current challenges requires an educated, committed executive branch, backed by informed families, veterans and members of congress, unified behind an approach that can succeed. 

The POW/MIA accounting effort is now enduring yet another re-organization, directed by Secretary of Defense Hagel  in view of serious dysfunction within the accounting community, there was little option, and we strongly urged, then supported his decision. 

As a Vietnam veteran himself, Secretary Hagel is dedicated to improving the accounting effort to more effectivel and efficiently accomplish our longstanding, reasonable objectives.   While always vigilant, we support Secretary Hagel’s initiative and are cautiously optimistic his commitment and dedication will prove successful.

Even recognizing the gravity of today’s national security challenges, we know Secretary Hagel to be a man of his word.  He gave me his personal commitment last December.  We are counting on him to ensure that this time, the major reorganization will resolve many existing problems, resulting in an improved and more effective accounting process.

Having said that, we do have serious concerns due to the tendency at lower levels to pander to false accusations.   Most of us have been through this before, and we hope and pray that calm logic and experience will prevail.      

We long ago recognized the need for active involvement by the veterans’ community.  Support from America’s veterans not only enables the league to continue to fight for answers, but also helps ensure that congress and the executive branch clearly understand that this issue has public support and must be resolved. 

The United States must continue to send clear signals that those who serve our nation are not expendable, that they will be accounted for if it is humanly possible.

The Vietnam war POW/MIA issue, and specifically efforts by the league, brought significant changes to our nation and to the world.  This is a contribution of which we are, justifiably, proud. 

In today’s wars, now compounded by the horrifying isis terrorists, lessons learned were applied, and only one member of our military, became a known pow.  S/sgt Bowe Bergdahl, USA, was released in a controversial swap that will be sorted out politically and by the military justice system, but he is home and, especially for his family, we are thankful.     

Nations throughout the world now seek accountability for their missing servicemen, no matter the country they served.  Seeking answers on a nation’s missing citizens has become a worldwide imperative.       

Our quest to account for America’s POW/MIAS from the Vietnam War has given rise to international recognition: you can blame the war, but don’t blame the warrior.  Our POW/MIA flag is now the recognized symbol of the principle of nations seeking accountability for those who serve. 

In 1997, congress passed the defense authorization act for FY98, including language that mandated flying our POW/MIA flag six days each year: armed forces day, memorial day, flag day, independence day, national POW/MIA recognition day and veterans day.

The league’s POW/MIA flag now must flown at the US capitol; the White House; offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs (where it actually flies daily) and the Office of the Director of the Selective Service System.

On permanent display in the us capitol rotunda since march 9, 1989, our POW/MIA flag also flies at all offices of the US Postal Service, and on the grounds or in the public lobbies of all major military installations, all national cemeteries, and the Korean war,  national Vietnam Veterans and World War II memorials.

The league and our nation’s veterans have fought for answers because it is the right thing to do. 

As we honor our returned POWs from all our nation’s past wars and conflict, we ask that you renew your commitment to support efforts to account as fully as possible for America’s unreturned veterans, our POW/MIAs and those killed-in-action whose bodies were not recovered. 

Thank you for making the effort to be here today, in this inspirational location, built in appreciation to those in our air force who served and serve our nation.    Thank you to all who serve our country.  God bless them, and God bless America! 



Upcoming Recognition Day events across the country

- send us your plans and photos!


From our UK / European Coordinator for the National League of POW/MIA Families

Remembrance Day Events



Santa Rosa Memorial Park

pow and mia

POW/MIA DAY A Tribute:

Prisoners of War/Missing In Action

Friday, September 19, 2014

10:00 – Veteran’s Lawn


Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 972 in conjunction with the Idaho Falls Military Recruiters present the National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Friday, 19th September 2014 06:00 PM – 07:00 PM

Place: Idaho Falls Greenbelt Trail  |  City: Idaho Falls, United States

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 972 in conjunction with the Idaho Falls Military Recruiters present the National POW/MIA Recognition Day on Friday Sept 19th at 6pm at the Ware Memorial on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt Trail, Idaho Falls, ID 83402, USA The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 972, in conjunction with the Idaho Falls military recruiters will be holding a ceremony at the War Memorial at the Greenbelt in Idaho Falls on Sept. 19th 2014, in recognition of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The event begins at 6pm and the public is welcome.

VA to observe POW/MIA Recognition Day on Sept. 19

IRON MOUNTAIN, MI The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain, will be holding a National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at the Pine Grove Country Club.

The public is welcome to attend the ceremony. The ceremony will pay tribute to America’s former prisoners of war who live in the area and those killed or still missing in action.

The keynote speaker is Glenn Johnson of Rhinelander, Wis., a former World War II prisoner of war (POW) who successfully escaped from a German POW camp. The ceremony will include music and readings by VA staff and volunteers.

A private luncheon for the former POWs and their families will follow the ceremony.

Pine Grove Country Club is located at 1520 W. Hughitt St. in Iron Mountain.

Questions regarding the POW/MIA ceremony may be directed to Brad Nelson at (906) 774-3300, extension 32001.



Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA)

AFSA POW-MIA 24hr Run McChord Field  Please join AFSA Chapter 1461 in our second annual POW/MIA Recognition Day 24-Hour run.  The purpose of this event is to recognize our brothers and sisters that are not forgotten and to support the enlisted family, past and present.  If you are interested in donating for this cause, please review and complete the information below.  All donations support the enlisted community and will enhance the quality of life and morale of the Airmen.  Register:

Trucksville church group will light watch fires for veterans

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Sept. 19 By Joe

Ed Zimmerman, seen here, will be guest speaker at a National POW/MIA Recognition Day event in Trucksville on Sept. 19.

Ed Zimmerman, seen here, will be guest speaker at a National POW/MIA Recognition Day event in Trucksville on Sept. 19. In war, watch fires were lit on hilltops and at the mouths of rivers after a battle, so those separated from their units could find their way back.

On Sept. 19, the “Remembering Our Veterans Memorial” group from Back Mountain Harvest Assembly of God Church, Carverton Road, Trucksville, will light a watch fire to spiritually guide home, remember and honor all the POW/MIA from America’s wars and conflicts, said John Tasco, who represents the group.The lighting of the watch fire will take place on the church grounds at about 5:30 p.m. on that day, which is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. The ceremony will move into the church sanctuary if there is inclement weather.“This year we will be featuring Ed Zimmerman as our guest speaker,” Tasco said.  Zimmerman, of Bear Creek Township, a Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran, traveled to Khe Sanh, Vietnam with a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, or JPAC, search team earlier this year to search for the remains of two Marines who were killed during the 77-day siege at Khe Sanh in early 1968. Zimmerman, who fought in the battle, will speak about his trip in June to Khe Sanh, where he helped locate the spot where the remains of the two Marines may be found.  Zimmerman, then a Marine lance corporal, earned a Bronze Star for saving a fellow Marine and a Purple Heart for a wound he suffered. He told The Times Leader in June that he found the spot based on his recollections and coordinates from others. Tasco said this is the second year the group is holding the watch fire.  “Last year we had a former Korean War POW and the daughter of a MIA from Vietnam as our guest speakers,” he said.

The watch fire will continue to burn until dawn. There will be representatives of various veterans organizations, music, prayer and other activities on the grounds. The program will include a presentation of the colors; a singing of the national anthem by Patty Petts; the Pledge of Allegiance by Rock Rec Youth Wildness Experience, and the opening prayer by Dave Higgins, a Vietnam veteran.  Tasco, who’s also a Vietnam veteran, will give the welcome, followed by other speakers, songs and prayers.

Fultondale to participate in National POW/MIA Recognition Day Sept. 19

FULTONDALE, Alabama – The city of Fultondale will honor the nation’s Missing in Action and Prisoners of War this September.
The Fultondale City Council issued a proclamation recognizing the day during its meeting Monday. Mayor Jim Lowery said in the proclamation he encourages the citizens of Fultondale and the businesses loca…ted in the city, as well as those in surrounding communities, to “Paint Fultondale Black and White” in honor of the service members by placing black and white ribbons, balloons, wreaths and more on their doors, windows and mailboxes. Black and white banners symbolizing America’s POWs and MIAs will be flown over the White House and other national buildings and monuments as a reminder of the country’s obligation to remember the sacrifices made by the service members, according to the proclamation.



TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville City Council last week approved a proclamation that makes Friday, Sept. 19 POW/MIA Recognition Day.

The proclamation states that on that day, the stark black and white banner that symbolizes America’s missing in action and prisoners of war will be flown over the White House; U.S. Capitol; the departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs; the Selective Service System headquarters; and more.

A Trussville historical marker
file photo by Ron Burkett

This will be done as “a solemn reminder of our obligation always to remember the sacrifices made to defend our Nation,” the proclamation states.

The proclamation encourages all municipalities to place black and white ribbons, balloons, wreaths and other symbols on their doors, windows and mailboxes. It also encourages all Alabama citizens to dress in black and white on Sept. 19 as a show of honor and remembrance of America’s missing in action and prisoners of war.

Sept. 19 will be a day of tribute.

“…we stand beside their families, and we honor those who are held captive as prisoners of war, we will never forget their sacrifice, nor will we ever abandon our responsibility to do everything in our power to bring them home.”



Annual POW-MIA Recognition Day to be held in Cottondale, AL

The annual POW-MIA Recognition Day will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 19 at the VFW Post 6022, 7001 University Blvd. E. in Cottondale. VFW Post 6022’s ceremony will feature the dedication of the “Missing Man” table, with place settings for one and an empty chair. Also, a local Junior ROTC color guard will present the colors, entertainer Terry Turner will sing the national anthem and other patriotic songs and “Echo Taps” will be perform by two trumpeters from the University of Alabama’s School of Music. The ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information, call the post at 205-553-8040.



Sept. 19, POW/MIA Recognition Day, is a day to recognize the men and women who are currently listed as missing and unaccounted-for, and their families who continue to burn the candle of hope.

The VFW is dedicated to obtaining the fullest possible accounting of all of our missing and prays that all the families of the missing will one day welcome their loved ones home from war.

More than 83,000 Americans are currently listed as missing and unaccounted-for, dating back to World War II. The VFW will never rest until our nation has obtained the fullest possible accounting of all of our missing.

VFW leaders will continue to travel to Vietnam, Moscow, the People’s Republic of China and beyond to actively assist our government with the most humanitarian of all humanitarian missions.

A veteran is a veteran, regardless of the color of uniform or the flag they saluted.  Now let us work together to bring closure to the families who continue to wait.

Learn how the VFW is working toward the fullest possible accounting of all military service members from all wars.



National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 19, 2014
Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) Kittyhawk Chapter 751-sponsored POW/MIA Coin


AFSA-SponsoredPOWMIA Coins_2014





pow_mia_poster_2013It is anticipated that Friday, September 20, 2013, will be proclaimed by President Obama as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Over the past several years, all or most of the 50 states have proclaimed POW/MIA Recognition Day in conjunction with the national effort. The League will ask each state to issue a proclamation, but we need your support!  Please contact your Governor and ask for his/her support and a copy of your state’s proclamation.  

Across the country, local POW/MIA ceremonies are encouraged throughout POW/MIA Recognition Week, culminating with countless events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day. Support for these missing Americans and their families is deeply felt. America’s POW/MIAs should be honored and recognized, rather than memorialized, with the focus on the need to account as fully as possible for those still missing, alive or dead. Strong, united support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers, and now is the time to start planning for this year’s ceremonies. The American people can make the difference.

Remember: Involving the state-level Department of Veterans Affairs, plus state, district and local veteran organizations, is the key to a successful event. Advance publicity must be a priority or attendance will be minimal. In order for the League to accurately respond to media inquiries and measure national awareness impact, please send information regarding activities to League  by email at, by mail to the League office, or by phone at 703-465-7432.

For guidance: Contact your League State Coordinator or check the League’s web site: Additional assistance can be sought from state and local governments, military and veteran organizations, ROTC, church groups, civic clubs, etc. A POW/MIA awareness contact should be available at each military installation, and invitations should be extended for military attendance and participation in these events.

To get media coverage: Contact local and state newspapers, magazines, military, church and school publications at least four weeks prior to Recognition Day. Send information packets, available from the League office, to editors, bureau chiefs, columnists and feature editors. If possible, contact a journalist who has written responsible articles on the POW/MIA issue. Write letters to the editor, outlining scheduled events and encouraging community participation.

Advertising: Develop posters and/or flyers to advertise local activities in the windows of area businesses. National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters will be available from  the Defense POW/MIA Office (703) 699-1169) or online (  An explanation of the poster can be found here.

Invitations: For all events, invitations may be sent to POW/MIA families in your area through the Service Casualty Offices (USA 800-892-2490; USN 800-443-9298; USMC 800-847-1597; USAF 800-531-5501), the CIA 703-874-4270, State Department for missing civilians 202-647-5470, and the League’s national office 703-465-7432. Invitations should also be extended to area veteran organizations, local dignitaries, civic organizations, etc. Speak to local civic clubs, veteran groups and auxiliaries, schools and churches prior to Recognition Day about the POW/MIA issue and plans for educational activities. Get them involved!

Other Programs

Write to your Governor, reinforcing the League’s request for a proclamation supporting National POW/MIA Recognition Day, calling on all citizens to participate in honoring US personnel still missing from our Nation’s past wars, returned POWs, and their respective families. Suggest that the Governor send a copy of your state’s proclamation to the President, Secretaries of State and Defense, and to the Members of Congress in their state delegation.

Write letters to Congress asking them to ensure that adequate funding and personnel are provided each year to underwrite the operational requirements to maintain a high level of effort on accounting for US personnel still missing from past wars. Urge your elected officials to contact the Vietnamese Embassy, 1233 Twentieth Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, asking for renewed efforts on their part to locate and provide archival records that could expedite the answers we seek in accounting for American POW/MIAs. This serves a two-fold purpose: 1) informing elected officials of constituent involvement; and 2) signaling Hanoi of US Congressional support.

POW/MIA Vigils (for 24 hours or for a specific amount of time related to the number of Americans missing in your area) are meaningful, visible displays of support for the POW/MIA issue. Vigils can include Candlelight Ceremonies, reading of individual names from the state or 50 names representing one missing man from each of the 50 states. Congressional involvement in such events also signals interest in and support for the issue.

Encourage flying the League’s POW/MIA flag at the State Capitol, city hall and other local and state government buildings. Contact fire and police departments, schools and local businesses, requesting display of the POW/MIA flag at all appropriate locations. Check your local office of the U.S. Postal Service to ensure they have a flag and plan to display it, as required by law, at least six mandated days: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Recognition Day, & Veterans Day), if not 24/7. Rededication ceremonies may also be held for flags that are already on display, an ideal event to honor POW/MIAs from all wars. To obtain POW/MIA flags, contact the Ohio Chapter MIA-POW, Mrs. Liz Flick, 614-451-2405.

Distribute POW/MIA flyers available from the League’s national office, 703-465-7432, to ensure updated, factual information is distributed.