On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) reminds every American to never forget to honor those who were held captive and returned and those who remain missing in action.
The day is a poignant reminder of those whose sacrifice helped pave the way to freedom and protection of the American way of life. Established through proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, National POW/MIA Recognition Day is commemorated across the nation on the third Friday in September. Every American president since President Carter, both Democrat and Republican, has issued proclamations for the observance. The 2023 White House proclamation on the occasion of National POW/MIA Recognition Day can be found here.
The plight of the more than 140,000 American former prisoners of war is a burden that stays with each of them, and we would be remiss if we do not acknowledge and honor those who endured such hardships on our behalf.
It is also the duty of every American to remember that some 81,000 service members are still listed as missing in action. Their families still hold out hope that one day they will receive the call that their loved one has been found. We owe them our support and vigilance until that day comes.
Whether it’s by attending a POW/MIA ceremony, setting a special POW/MIA table at an event, or holding a candlelight vigil, the more than 1.4 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary ask everyone to remember the service and sacrifice of America’s former POWs, and to keep the candle of hope lit until all our nation’s missing service men and women are accounted for.