Veterans Day and POW/MIA at Gowanda Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5007

When you see the POW/MIA flag flying, do you understand its meaning and all that it represents? A silhouette of a prisoner of war (POW) before a guard tower and barbed wire in white on a black field. POW/MIA is above the silhouette with a five-pointed star between the two and below, a black and white wreath and the motto “You Are Not Forgotten.” MIA represents missing in action.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5007 on 20 Sandhill Road in Gowanda Quartermaster Charlie Ross is trying to inform all ages of the public about this flag’s meaning.

“Locally, it can be seen flying here at our post as well as most veterans organization posts and U.S. Post Offices,” he said.

Designed by Newton F. Heisley, a WWII veteran in 1972 for the National League of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, it was created to symbolize our Nation’s commitment to the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and those unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. This demonstrated our concern and determination for the aforementioned and their families.

This flag is officially recognized by the U.S. Congress as the 101st Congress passed a public law on August 10, 1990. The POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the U.S. Capitol rotunda and the only flag, other than the Flag of The United States, that’s flown over the White House. The POW/MIA flag represents all those still missing regardless of the conflict.

Note the ambiguity of the flag as MIA might actually be held as prisoners although U.S. Government position, according to U.S. Senate 1993 Report of the Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs states, “No compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia.”

VFW Post 5007 Quartermaster Ross said, “This flag can be flown by civilians at their desire, but is specified by the government on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.”

VFW Post 5007 Service Officer Arnie Andolsek added, “The corner single set table and chair, always in our meeting/dining hall, with the POW/MIA flag draped over the chair is a symbol of those missing, thereby reserving a chair in hopes of their return.”

VFW Post 5007 Quartermaster Ross invites all veterans and their families to “Come enjoy our Veterans Day Breakfast to see both the flag flying and the table and to better understand what they represent.”

The breakfast will be held this Sunday from 7:30-11 a.m. with veterans and children eating free. The cost for all others is $5.

“The day celebrates the service of all U.S. Military veterans whether with us or not,” said Ross.