The History of
The Vietnam War
In 1971, Mrs. Mary Hoff, an MIA wife and
member of the National League of American Prisoners and
Missing in Southeast Asia, recognized the need for a
symbol of our POW/MIAs. Prompted by an article in the
Jacksonville, Florida TIMES-UNION, Mrs. Hoff contacted
Norman Rivkees, Vice-President of Annin & Company which
had made a banner for the newest member of the United
Nations, the People's Republic of China, as a part of
their policy to provide flags to all UN member nations.
Mrs. Hoff found Mr. Rivkees very sympathetic to the
POW/MIA issue, and he, along with Annin's advertising
agency, designed a flag to represent our missing men.
Following League approval, the flags were manufactured
The flag is black, bearing in the center, in
black and white, the emblem of the League. The emblem
is a white disk bearing in black silhouette the bust of
a man, watch tower with a guard holding a rifle, and a
strand of barbed wire; above the disk are the white
letters POW and MIA framing a white 5-pointed star;
below the disk is a black and white wreath above the
white motto YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.
Concerned groups and individuals have altered
the original POW/MIA Flag many times; the colors have
been switched from black with white to red, white and
blue, to white with black; the POW/MIA has at times
been revised to MIA/POW. Such changes, however, are
insignificant. The importance lies in the continued
visibility of the symbol, a constant reminder of the
plight of America's POW/MIA'S.
On March 9,1989 a POW/MIA Flag, which flew
over the White House on the 1988 National POW/MIA
Recognition Day, was installed in the United States
Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation passed
overwhelmingly during the 100th session of Congress.
The leadership of both Houses hosted the installation
ceremony in a demonstration of bipartisan congressional
support. This POW/MIA Flag, the only flag displayed in
the United States Capitol Rotunda, stands as a powerful
symbol of our national commitment to our POW/MIAs until
the fullest possible accounting for Americans still
missing in Southeast Asia has been achieved.