SYMRNA – Joined by Delaware veterans, members of the American Legion #14, Attorney General Beau Biden and legislative leaders, Governor Jack Markell signed legislation today requiring State agencies, including all public schools, to display a POW/MIA flag on National POW/MIA Recognition Day. National POW/MIA Recognition Day, observed on the third Friday of September each year, serves as an opportunity to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families. House Bill 276 supports the goal of this day by ensuring state facilities and public schools display the POW/MIA flag in remembrance.
“The POW/MIA flag has various symbols on it, but the phrase ‘You are not forgotten’ is the most important,” said Governor Markell. “We owe a significant amount of gratitude to the U.S. military personnel who were prisoners of war and those currently missing in action. Signing this bill into law signifies Delaware’s ongoing commitment to the words on this flag.”
Primary House sponsor, Rep. Bill Carson, D-Smyrna, said he grew up with friends who served in Vietnam, some of whom did not return. One soldier, Marine Captain Larry Potts, was shot down by enemy fire in Vietnam 40 years ago, but his body was not found among the wreckage. Sponsoring the POW/MIA flag bill, he said, was one way to pay tribute to Capt. Potts and all the other Delawareans listed as missing or who were prisoners of war.
“This is a way to honor heroes of all generations and all wars who were captured or went missing while defending our country and the liberties we so enjoy,” Rep. Carson said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have today. We owe them a debt of gratitude, and flying the POW/MIA flag is just one small way to do that.”
“If a building can handle it, I think we should fly the POW-MIA flag every day to remember the brave men and women who are either in an enemy’s hands or are missing,” said Sen. Bruce Ennis, D-Smyrna, the bill’s chief Senate sponsor. “But if a building has only one flagpole, then, I think it’s important and fitting to fly that flag on the day we recognize our POWs and MIAs.”
The 2012 National POW/MIA Recognition day will be observed Friday, September 21. It will be the first time this new requirement is implemented statewide.
For pictures from the event, please visit the online Flickr album.