Commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Friday, September 18th at 11am

Suresnes American Military Cemetery

National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag being displayed with the US flag. 
© C. Justice Jr.

As a member of the DA France Veterans and Military Families Caucus, you are invited to an outdoor guided tour of the Suresnes Military Cemetery by the ABMC Staff this Friday, September 18th at 11am followed by a wreath laying on the tomb of the unknown soldier in commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. There are 974 MIA buried at the Suresnes Cemetery.

Directions: Trains depart from Gare St. Lazare to the Suresnes Mont Valerien station. From the Suresnes station it is a 10-minute walk to the cemetery. Address: 123 Boulevard Washington, 92150 Suresnes.

Many Americans across the United States pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war (POW), as well as those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. All military installations fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.

National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag being displayed with the US flag. 


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. 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, (Source: National League of Families website and cited on the US Army website).

National POW/MIA Recognition Day has been observed since 1979 upon the passing of a United States Congress resolution. As of 1986 onwards, the date was fixed on the third Friday of September. 

History of the POW/MIA Flag

The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. Newt Heisley designed the flag. The flag’s design features a silhouette of a young man, which is based on Mr Heisley’s son, who was medically discharged from the military. As Mr Heisley looked at his returning son’s gaunt features, he imagined what life was for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. He then sketched the profile of his son as the new flag's design was created in his mind.

The flag features a white disk bearing in black silhouette a man’s bust, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters “POW” and “MIA”, with a white five-pointed star in between, are typed above the disk. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white, capital letters.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States but it is a national observance.