Some dates on the calendar are all about celebration. We embrace the joy of different holidays. Other dates are about remembrance. We reflect with respect and longing. On the third Friday in September, we honor those we have lost, through their military service, by observing National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
The flag that commemorates this day bears a simple, striking design. A lone silhouette represents more than 1,600 men and women serving in our armed forces who are still missing. Its message is very clear. They are not forgotten.
Honoring these brave women and men began with a United States Congressional resolution in 1979. The third Friday of September was established as National POW/MIA Recognition Day in 1986. Each year since, the signing of a presidential proclamation recognizes the courage of so many who are so deeply missed.
While this day of awareness originated as a response to the war in Vietnam, it has since come to embrace missing U.S. military personnel around the world. In their honor, we proudly stand and pledge to do all we can to account for them and expedite their return.
On this day, we reach out and extend our support and comfort to the families who still wait. As we recognize the service and sacrifice of our POWs and MIAs, we also make a promise to stand strong by their loved ones here at home.