November 08, 2019

National POW/MIA Flag Act Signed into Law

Warren and Cotton Led Bipartisan Group of Senators to Ensure the POW/MIA Flag is Displayed Alongside the U.S. Flag on Prominent Federal Properties; Representatives Chris Pappas and Jack Bergman Led the Bill in the House

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), today applauded the passage and signing into law of the National POW/MIA Flag Act, their bipartisan bill to require the POW/MIA Flag be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent federal properties to honor the more than 82,000 Americans who are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), or otherwise unaccounted for from our nation's past wars and conflicts.
“All three of my veteran brothers came home safe after their service, but many do not,” said Senator Warren. “This bipartisan law ensures that the POW/MIA Flag is consistently and prominently displayed and that we never forget those servicemembers who have not returned home."
“There’s no better time than Veterans Day to honor those who left our shores only to be held captive, and those who have still not returned,” said Senator Cotton. “Over 82,000 Americans remain missing from past wars and prominently displaying the POW/MIA flag will help remind all Americans of their service and sacrifice.”
“Today and throughout the history of our country, our men and women in uniform have valiantly chosen to serve in defense of freedom and the security of the United States,” said Senator Thune. “I’m glad this legislation is now law. Displaying a POW/MIA flag to honor those who have not returned home is the least we can do to recognize these heroes and the sacrifice of their families.”
“Especially as we approach Veterans Day, I am ever grateful for our service members—and in particular my thoughts are with Prisoners of War or those Missing in Action and their families,” Senator Hassan said. “But it is not nearly enough to honor these heroes just on national holidays. I’m very glad to have worked with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the POW/MIA flag is displayed alongside the American flag, and it is a fitting tribute that President Trump signed our bill into law ahead of this year’s Veterans Day.”
“More than 82,000 American service members have been listed as POW/MIA or unaccounted for as a result of our nation’s wars and conflicts,” Senator Toomey said. “Permanently displaying the POW/MIA flag at certain federal landmarks is a small but important way to honor these heroes while serving to remind their families that we, as a nation, will never forget.”
“This is about honoring U.S. service members who were prisoners of war or those missing in action, and ensuring they remain front and center in our collective hearts.  We can never repay our profound debt to them, but we should recognize their service each and every day.  And we must support their families and uphold the American values they fought so hard to defend,” said Senator Reed.

The National POW/MIA Flag Act will ensure that the POW/MIA Flag is displayed whenever the U.S. flag is displayed, effectively ensuring that both flags are displayed concurrently and every day at federal locations already designated under existing law. Those locations include the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, every national cemetery, the buildings containing the official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, the office of the Director of the Selective Service System, each major military installation (as designated by the Secretary of Defense), each Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, and each United States Postal Service post office.
Before the lawmakers’ bill became law, the POW/MIA Flag was required to be displayed by the federal government on certain prominent federal properties only six days per year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Veterans Day. 
Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) and Representative and U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jack Bergman (R-MI-01) sponsored the House version of the bill.
"I am pleased that President Trump has signed the bipartisan National POW/MIA Flag Act into law," said Congressman Pappas. "This legislation, which I was proud to introduce and work to pass in the House, honors those service members who were prisoners of war and the over 80,000 individuals who remain unaccounted for. This legislation reaffirms our country's commitment to them and ensures that the words emblazoned on the POW/MIA flag continue to communicate a clear message of our unwavering support and commitment to our nation's heroes and their families. That message is this: you are not forgotten."
“Over 82,000 men and women who've served our nation in uniform are unaccounted for or listed as POW/MIA, including many Michiganders. I’m thankful President Trump signed this significant legislation into law,” said Congressman Bergman. “Flying the POW/MIA flag at federal properties 365 days a year is just a small way that we can ensure their sacrifice and devotion to our nation is never forgotten.”
The legislation had the support of Rolling Thunder, Inc. National; Rolling Thunder Inc. Massachusetts Chapters 1 and 2; the National League of POW/MIA Families; Veterans of Foreign Wars; The American Legion; American Ex-Prisoners of War; and the National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen.
“The American Ex-Prisoners of War is grateful for the efforts made in the House of Representatives and by Senator Elizabeth Warren leading in the Senate to pass the National POW/MIA Flag Act,” said Cheryl Cerbone, Chief Executive Officer of American Ex-Prisoners of War. “The stirring symbol of those who suffered the tortures of imprisonment as well as those still missing and whose family members grieve will now fly with the American Flag every day on prominent Federal properties.”
"Rolling Thunder Inc. National appreciates Sen. Elizabeth Warren for her dedication to the POW/MIA issue, and for her effective assistance in helping our organization to introduce legislation in the Senate, and in the House through Rep. Chris Pappas,” said Gus Dante, Rolling Thunder Inc. National Government/Veterans Affairs Chairman. “The passage of this legislation ensures that the POW/MIA flag will be displayed appropriately with the flag of the United States, and remain a potent symbol of our nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of some 82,000 Americans still imprisoned, missing and unaccounted for from all wars. The POW/MIA flag flying over the U.S. Capitol will be a steadfast reminder to both the families of our missing and the American public that our government has not forgotten those who did not come home.”

“This is a historic victory for every man and woman who courageously defended this nation and remain unaccounted for,” said VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz. “Today’s presidential signing and the daily display of the POW/MIA flag at all prominent federal properties now serves as a daily reminder that these heroes, and their families, are forever etched in our DNA.” 

Senators Warren and Cotton first introduced the bill in the Senate during the 115th Congress.
This is the second bill introduced by Senator Warren honoring America’s Prisoners of War and missing servicemembers to become law. In 2016, Senator Warren worked to pass into law the National POW/MIA Remembrance Act, which established a POW/MIA commemorative chair on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. In 2017, Senator Warren delivered remarks at a bipartisan, bicameral ceremony unveiling this chair of honor.