September 11, 2020

Warren, Hassan, Reed Urge President Trump to Reverse Relocation of POW/MIA Flag at the White House

White House moved Flag from atop the White House to an area not visible to the public which appears to be inconsistent with the law and hurtful to veterans and servicemembers The lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill last year requiring the Flag be displayed whenever the American Flag is displayed at the White House and other prominent federal properties

Text of letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Ranking Member of SASC Jack Reed urged President Donald Trump to reverse the relocation of the POW/MIA Flag from atop the White House to an area not visible to the public. This decision by the White House appears inconsistent with the law the lawmakers passed last year to require the POW/MIA Flag be displayed whenever the American Flag is displayed on prominent federal properties to honor the more than 81,000 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.

"It has come to our attention that this decision to abruptly move the POW/MIA Flag from atop the White House to an area that is apparently not visible to the public may violate federal law and does not appropriately honor the service and sacrifices of American prisoners of war, missing servicemembers, and their families," wrote the senators

On November 7, 2019, President Trump signed into law a bipartisan bill authored by the senators requiring the POW/MIA Flag to be 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, including the White House. The law states: "Display of the POW/MIA flag pursuant to this section shall be in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public."

But in June of this year, the White House appears to have moved the POW/MIA Flag from the top of the White House, just under the American Flag, to a pole on the White House grounds. The senators urged President Trump and the White House to follow the letter and spirit of current U.S. law and display the POW/MIA Flag consistently and prominently in order to ensure that our country never forgets those servicemembers who have not returned home. 

Senator Warren has established a record honoring America's Prisoners of War and missing servicemembers. In 2016, Senator Warren and her colleagues 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.