The following is a media release from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office. She is one of two individuals elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. She is a Democrat.
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.), 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 service members 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.”
“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.
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 Chair “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. The November 8th “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.