National POW/MIA Recognition Day
On August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed U.S. Public Law 101-355, recognizing the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag and designating it "as a symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation." Beyond Southeast Asia, it has been a symbol for POW/MIAs from all American Wars.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established to honor Americans held as Prisoners of War and to renew our nation’s commitment to account for US personnel still missing from our nation’s past wars and conflicts. While earlier Recognition Day events were scheduled during the National League of Families’ annual meetings each summer, a change was needed to ensure all POW/MIAs from all of America’s past wars were included and honored.
In 1986, The National League of Families recommended that the third Friday in September be deemed National POW/MIA Recognition Day, a date not associated with any particular war, nor in conjunction with any organizations’ annual meetings/national convention.
On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, ceremonies take place across the country and around the world to honor and remember our nation’s Prisoners of War and our unreturned veterans, America’s MIAs.
There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department's POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam's wartime control, according to the National League of Families website (cited in the United States Army website).
"Keeping the Promise", "Fulfill their Trust" and "No one left behind" are several of many mottos that refer to the efforts of the Department of Defense to recover those who became missing while serving our nation.
The mission requires expertise in archival research, intelligence collection and analysis, field investigations and recoveries and scientific laboratories. Hundreds of Defense Department men and women -- both military and civilian -- operators and scientists, work in organizations around the world as part of DoD's personnel recovery and personnel accounting communities. They are all dedicated to the single mission of finding and bringing our missing personnel home.