National POW/MIA Recognition Day – National Flag Holidays

On the third Friday of each September, the United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across our nation. During this time, many Americans take to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action(MIA), including their families.



The first-ever National POW/MIA Recognition Day was held on July 28th, 1979 after the National League of Families of Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia initiatives inspired Congress to pass a resolution. From 1986 on the date was moved to the third Friday of September.

There were 1,741 American personnel listed missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War in 1975 by the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Office as of April 2009.


The Design


The flag, designed by Newt Heisley, symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served and are still missing. The design is a black and white flag that features a silhouette of a young man, inspired by Heisley’s son who was medically discharged by the military.


Surrounding the silhouette is a white disk, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. Above this image, POW and MIA are separated by a five point star and below is a black and white wreath with “You Are Never Forgotten” written below in white letters.

Flying Days


The Flag can be displayed on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. The flag is usually displayed at the Capitol, White House, Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, national cemeteries, various government buildings, and major military installations.


As a reminder, the American Flag is to always be the top flag flying and can be flown 24 hours a day with the proper illumination during hours of darkness. For more information, visit our Flag Etiquette Information.


Future Observance Days (Always Friday)


September 20, 2019

September 18, 2020



Share This:

Collins Flags

We offer a variety of U.S. flags and poles to suit most every need. We proudly buy our U.S. flags only from American manufacturers who meet or exceed our demand for high-quality construction. Click for to see our large selection of U.S. Flags.

2 Replies to “National POW/MIA Recognition Day – National Flag Holidays

  1. I have a question regarding flying the POW/MIA flag in conjunction with the US flag at a civilian site (non-VA medical hospital).
    What dates are correct and proper for the POW/MIA flag to be flown. Is flying the POW/MIA flag on any other days considered acceptable?
    Could you also state the source(s) as part of your reply?

    1. “Congress designated the 3rd Friday of September as “National POW/MIA Recognition Day” and ordered prominent ‘display of the POW/MIA flag on this day’ and several other national observances, including:

      Armed Forces Day
      Memorial Day
      Flag Day
      Independence Day
      Veterans Day” Source:

      As for flying on any other days, there are examples of the flag flying year round in certain cities… It’s more of a way to show respect. There is no specified etiquette against flying the flag on non POW flag flying days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *