2018 NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY
September 21, 2018 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 a countless number of events and the national ceremony in Washington, DC, on Recognition Day. Support for Americans missing and unaccounted-for in wartime, and their families, is deeply felt. America’s POW/MIAs can be honored and recognized, but not memorialized. The focus should be on sustaining commitment to account for them as fully as possible. Strong, united, active support by the American people is crucial to achieving concrete answers. Now is the time to plan for this year’s ceremonies. Thus far, the American people, especially our supportive veterans, have made 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 may 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 Office Administrator Leslie Swindells by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to the League office.
For guidance: Contact your League State Coordinator or check the League’s web site: www.pow-miafamilies.org. 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 previously 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 all Military Services, major national veteran organizations, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) at 703-699-1420 or 1169, and the League.
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 202-485-6106, 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!
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 Members of Congress in their state’s delegation.
Write letters to Congress asking them to ensure that adequate funding and personnel are provided each fiscal year to underwrite operational requirements necessary to sustain a high level of effort on accounting for US personnel still missing from past wars. Urge your elected officials to contact the Vietnamese, Lao, Cambodian, Russian Federation and PRC Embassies, asking for renewed efforts on their part to locate and provide archival records that could expedite the answers we seek in accounting for America’s UNRETURNED VETERANS. This serves a two-fold purpose: 1) informing elected officials of constituent concern and involvement; and 2) signaling US and foreign governments 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 accounting effort. 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 participation 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. If already being flown, thank the responsible senior official (governor, mayor, county supervisor, etc.). 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 US Postal Service to ensure they have a flag and plan to display it, as required by law, at least six mandated days each year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, & Veterans Day), if not 24/7. Rededication ceremonies may also be held for flags already on display, an ideal event to honor POW/MIAs from all wars and reinforce the need for answers. 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 or the League’s website, www.pow-miafamilies.org, to ensure updated, factual information is distributed.
Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis hosts the 2018 National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremony at the Pentagon.