The POW/MIA flag was created for the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia and officially recognized by the United States Congress in conjunction with the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, "as the 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."
The original design for the flag was created by Newt Heisley in 1972 The National League of Families then-national coordinator, Evelyn Grubb, wife of a POW, oversaw its development and also campaigned to gain its widespread acceptance and use by the United States government and also local governments and civilian organizations across the United States.
Available sizes are 12xz18 inches, 2x3 ft, 3x5 ft, 4x6ft, 5x8ft
Indoor and commercial outdoor
With the passage of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act during the first term of the 105th Congress, the POW/MIA flag was specified to fly each year on:
- Armed Forces Day—Third Saturday in May
- Memorial Day—Last Monday in May
- Flag Day—June 14
- Independence Day—July 4
- National POW/MIA Recognition Day—Third Friday in September
- Veterans Day—November 11
The POW/MIA flag will be flown on the grounds or the public lobbies of major military installations as designated by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, all Federal National Cemeteries, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the White House, the United States Post Offices and at official offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, and Director of the Selective Service System. Civilians are free to fly the POW/MIA flag whenever they wish.
In the U.S. Armed Forces, the dining halls, mess halls and chow halls display a single table and chair in a corner draped with the POW-MIA flag as a symbol for the missing, thus reserving a chair in hopes of their return.
Other color patterns exist: the orange and black pattern was run by Outpost Flags at the time of Harley Davidson's 100th anniversary, so that the bikers would help keep the issue alive and in the forefront of American politics. There are red and white versions, which some say are to cover more recent military actions, but this is not official policy. There are black and red versions available as well.