The POW/MIA flag symbolizes our nation’s dedication and determination to rescue Americans who are behind held as prisoners of war or missing in action. It was adopted in January 1972. As shown in the adjacent photo, the POW/MIA flag depicts the emblem of the National League of Families of American Prisons and Missing in Southeast Asia. It features the silhouette of a prisoner of war standing in front of a guard tower with barbed wire. At the bottom is the phrase “You Are Not Forgotten.”
Because of its symbolic nature, the POW/MIA flag requires proper etiquette when being displayed. How do you display the POW/MIA flag exactly?
Keep It Clean
You should only display the POW/MIA flag if it’s clean. Like with the American flag, displaying a dirty or stained POW/MIA flag is poor etiquette. Most flags can be washed. If your POW/MIA flag is dirty, you should be able to hand-wash or machine-wash it, depending on the material from which it’s made. Regardless, you should keep it clean. As long as it’s clean, you can proudly display the POW/MIA flag
Place Below the American Flag
If you’re planning to display the POW/MIA flag on the same pole as the American flag, you should place it below the American flag. You don’t have to display the POW/MIA flag and American flag on separate poles. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) explains that it’s perfectly fine to display both flags on the same flag, assuming the POW/MIA flag is placed directly below the American flag.
Display at Equal Heights to Other Official Flags
You may want to display the POW/MIA flag alongside other official flags. Assuming all flags have a separate pole, you should display them at equal heights. Government buildings, for instance, may display the POW/MIA flag, a state flag and the American flag on separate poles. The proper etiquette in this scenario is to display all of the flags at equal heights. The POW/MIA flag should be the same height as the state flag and the American flag.
Display on Important Days
While you can display the POW/MIA flag year-round, there are certain days of the year on which it’s considered particularly important to display the POW/MIA flag. These days include National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. You can display the POW/MIA flag on other days of the year; these days are simply considered particularly important.