CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – There were two flags flying outside the Post Office on Bullard and Minnewawa avenues in Clovis on Friday. Underneath the flag of the United States was a second flag in black and white.

On the second flag are the words “POW MIA” at the top and “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN” underneath. POW refers to “Prisoner of War” and MIA stands for “Missing in Action.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the POW/MIA flag was developed in the 1970s as a reminder for every American of those U.S. service members who were never accounted for during the Vietnam War.

The black and white silhouette in the middle of the flag, above a strand of barbed wire and in front of a watchtower, was designed by former World War II pilot Newt Heisley. Some suggest the person in the silhouette depicts his son.

In 1990, a law passed by Congress designated the POW/MIA flag as “the symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.”

Congress also designated the third Friday of September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Congress ordered the POW/MIA flag to be shown on that day – and several other national days including Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.

The 1998 Defense Authorization Act states that on those national days, the POW/MIA flag should be flown over the:

  • White House
  • The U.S. Capitol
  • The Korean and Vietnam Veterans War Memorials
  • The offices of the Secretaries of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs
  • The offices of the Director of the Selective Service System
  • Every major military installation (as directed by the Secretary of Defense)
  • Every post office
  • All Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and national cemeteries

The POW/MIA flag is usually flown immediately below or next to the United States flag as second in order of precedence.