Plan now for POW/MIA Recognition Day

Submitted by Patti Williamson, National Security Committee Vice Chairman

Have you started making plans for your Prisoner of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA) Day event yet? It is the third Friday in September (Sept. 21) and will be here before you know it! It is never too early to start planning. Here are some of the things you can do:

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Tiny American flags and a row of combat boots set together during the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action 24-hour vigil ceremony during a previous POW/MIA week, RAF Mildenhall. The flag represents American freedom, while the boots serve as a humbling reminder of sacrifices given by our captured and fallen service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Jerry Fleshman)
  • The American Legion Auxiliary’s national website, www.ALAforVeterans.org, has a “letter to the editor” template in the public relations toolbox. It is easy to download, print, and sign. Then, send it to your local newspaper.
  • You can also ask your mayor to make a proclamation about POW/MIA Day.
  • Hold a ceremony at a memorial or cemetery. Invite any POWs to dinner and invite them to share their experiences. Give them a signed certificate of appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
  • Consider making them a quilt if you know the branch of service or just a patriotic one if you don’t know that information.
  • If you have Junior members, they may want to interview the individual and post it on YouTube or help them take part in the Veterans History Project through the Library of Congress.
  • The most important thing you can do is validate their experience and make them feel special!
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POW/MIA flag.

Did you know that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs keeps track of the POWs in their system? Local VA facilities often have a ceremony on POW/MIA Recognition Day. Maybe your unit can help augment the ceremony by providing refreshments, small gifts, or just visiting with the POWs. Let’s show these heroes that we appreciate and honor their sacrifices.

 

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