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senate Bill S. 693

Should the POW/MIA Flag be Displayed at Prominent Federal Properties With the American Flag?

Argument in favor

The POW/MIA flag isn’t displayed often enough at U.S. federal properties and offices. As a nation, the U.S. should honor those who’ve been lost during service, and flying the POW/MIA flag on a daily basis is one way to do so.

Tiffany 's Opinion
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10/22/2019
Yes! POW and MIA Veterans should NEVER be forgotten. Never.
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William's Opinion
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10/22/2019
Veterans are too often forgotten or ignored. It is not assent to our nation’s warmongering to honor and remember those who are still missing or captured in the performance of their duties. It might remind our leaders about the high cost of their imperialistic decisions.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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10/22/2019
We should never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
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Argument opposed

The POW/MIA flag is already flown on important holidays related to veterans when it’s most appropriate to display that flag at major federal properties. Increasing the frequency with which it’s flown isn’t necessary or particularly meaningful.

Joanne's Opinion
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10/22/2019
As wife and ward of career military, I’m pretty sure most vets are more concerned with substance than display. Raise pay for lower grades especially those with families. Improve services at the VA. Consider not wielding our boys for political purposes.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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10/22/2019
Some in America are already flag worship fanatics. Adding war worship both reeks of special interest pandering and passive-aggressive jingoistic grudges. As a country we already struggle with our war addiction. Let’s not add to it by permanently putting it on the alter of “flag”.
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Ronald's Opinion
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10/22/2019
Stop meaningless votes. Our Nation is in crisis. Congress must heal itself from impeachment insanity. A valid impeachment requires all of Congress' attention until it is resolved. The fact the Congress is hiding the current illegal, unconstitutional crimes proves the criminally of Congress actions.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedNovember 7th, 2019
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed on a voice vote
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The senate Passed on a voice vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedMarch 7th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 693?

This bill — the National POW/MIA Act — would require the POW-MIA Flag to be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent federal properties. This would effectively require the POW/MIA flag’s display at prominent federal properties on a daily basis.

“Prominent federal properties” would 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. 

Under current law, the POW/MIA flag is only required to be displayed on certain prominent federal properties on six days a year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and Veterans Day. Additionally, the National Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans and World War II Memorials are now required by law to display the POW/MIA flag daily.

Impact

POWs and MIAs; POW/MIA flag; prominent federal properties; and frequency of the POW/MIA flag’s display at prominent federal properties.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 693

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require the POW/MIA Flag to be displayed whenever the American flag is displayed on prominent federal properties

“Honoring our servicemembers who have fought courageously and honorably for our country's freedom is so important. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill alongside Senators Cotton, Thune, and Sinema to honor all servicemembers, including those who have not made it home."

Original cosponsor Sen. Tom Cotton (D-AR) adds

“Over 82,000 Americans, including hundreds of Arkansans, remain missing from past wars. They are not forgotten. It is my hope that this small gesture reminds Americans to honor those who left our shores, and never returned."

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), sponsor of this bill’s House companion, says

“The POW/MIA Flag is representative of the courage and sacrifice members our armed forces have given on behalf of this nation throughout our history. By putting the flag on full display outside of prominent federal buildings, memorials, and national cemeteries, we are reaffirming our commitment to the more than 82,000 servicemembers who remain unaccounted for. As the representative of New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, which has the longest-running POW/MIA vigil in America, I have seen how important the flag is to demonstrate that these heroes are not forgotten. I hope this bill will help encourage further display of the POW/MIA Flag and honor our servicemembers, veterans, and their families.”

Rolling Thunder, Inc. National supports this bill. Its Government Affairs Liaison, August Dante, says: 

“The POW/MIA flag will be a symbol of our Nation's concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still imprisoned, missing and the 83,000 plus unaccounted for from all wars. As the POW/MIA Chair of Honor in the US Capitol, the POW/MIA flag flying over the Capitol will be a reminder to the families of our missing and the public that our government has not forgotten those that did not come home."

Authors H. Bruce Franklin and Rick Holmes argue that there are better ways to honor MIAs and POWs. They suggest a symbol of peace or simply flying the American flag on its own instead.

This legislation unanimously passed the Senate with the support of seven bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including four Republicans and three Democrats. Its House companion, sponsored by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH), has 32 bipartisan House cosponsors (including 22 Democrats and 10 Republicans) and hasn’t yet received a committee vote

Rolling Thunder, the National League of POW/MIA Families, and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) support this legislation.


Of NoteThis bill was introduced 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 U.S. wars and conflicts. 

The POW/MIA flag was designed by Norman Rivkees, Vice President of Annin & Company, in 1970 at the behest of Mrs. Michael Hoff, an MIA wife and member of the National League of POW/MIA Families. Rivkees worked with an Annin advertising agency employee, Newt Heisley, to design the flag. After the flag’s approval by the National League of POW/MIA Families at a meeting held from January 22-23, 1972, POW/MIA flags were manufactured for distribution. 

On March 9, 1989, an official League MIA/POW flag which had been flown over the White House on National POW/MIA Recognition Day 1988 was installed in the US Capitol Rotunda. This was the result of bipartisan legislation from the 110th Congress. In a further demonstration of bipartisan Congressional support, the leadership of both chambers hosted the installation ceremony.

In 1998, the 105th Congress passed a law requiring the POW/MIA flag to be flown on six holidays during the year. Under Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act, the POW/MIA flag is required to be displayed at the White House, the US Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, the headquarters of the Selective Service System, major military installations as designated by the Secretary of Defense, all Federal cemeteries and all offices of the US Postal Service on six days each year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day. Additionally, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) voluntarily displays the POW/MIA flag 24/7. 

Additionally, the National Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans and World War II Memorials are now also required by law to display the POW/MIA flag daily.  Most state capitols have adopted similar laws, as have local governments nationwide.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / JannHuizenga)

AKA

National POW/MIA Flag Act

Official Title

A bill to amend title 36, United States Code, to require that the POW/MIA flag be displayed on all days that the flag of the United States is displayed on certain Federal property.

    Yes! POW and MIA Veterans should NEVER be forgotten. Never.
    Like (12)
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    As wife and ward of career military, I’m pretty sure most vets are more concerned with substance than display. Raise pay for lower grades especially those with families. Improve services at the VA. Consider not wielding our boys for political purposes.
    Like (39)
    Follow
    Share
    Some in America are already flag worship fanatics. Adding war worship both reeks of special interest pandering and passive-aggressive jingoistic grudges. As a country we already struggle with our war addiction. Let’s not add to it by permanently putting it on the alter of “flag”.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    Stop meaningless votes. Our Nation is in crisis. Congress must heal itself from impeachment insanity. A valid impeachment requires all of Congress' attention until it is resolved. The fact the Congress is hiding the current illegal, unconstitutional crimes proves the criminally of Congress actions.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    Veterans are too often forgotten or ignored. It is not assent to our nation’s warmongering to honor and remember those who are still missing or captured in the performance of their duties. It might remind our leaders about the high cost of their imperialistic decisions.
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    Of course
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    Warren doesn’t give a crap about our veterans.
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    This is a difficult yes or no. Anywhere all military flags are raised daily, yes, this flag should be raised also. But does this flag need to be raised at a courthouse daily? Or at public schools? I don't think so. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day it is more than appropriate to raise these flags everywhere, but perhaps the powerful image it is now may be diminished over excessive use.
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    We should never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
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    We fly both flags at our house and are ever reminded of the ultimate sacrifices made by those who came before us.
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    Yes, we must honor our fallen soldiers who fought for the security of the rest of us.
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    Nice gesture! Powwow pandering.
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    We need to honor those who serve and sacrifice for this nation. The POW/MIA flag should be displayed at appropriate sites like a memorial to service people. But, requiring it be be displayed in more than that is too much. What's next?
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    Without hesitation, absolutely and positively YES! Now consider flying the Rainbow flag as well because of the tens of thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Questioning men and women who offered up their lives to defend our Democracy, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Freedoms & Responsibilities we ALL live by and hold dear.
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    There are still missing military personnel
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    Considering the fact our government overlords are sending citizens to fight orchestrated wars for profit, the least they could do is fly a flag to honor their stolen lives.
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    Yes. Absolutely. We must never forget the troops who are MIA, or were POW's or still may be.
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    Reminder of sacrificed
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    The woman who created this bill is simply trying to act like she has a patriotic bone in her body
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    Just yes!
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