The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) unveiled the 2020 POW/MIA Recognition Day poster during a ceremony at their Washington, D.C., headquarters July 24.
"The poster embodies the spirit of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day and tangibly articulates the inordinate service of our former POWs and the supreme sacrifice of our missing," said Kelly McKeague, DPAA’s director. “Unveiling it in the summer allows DPAA to distribute replica posters in time for families of the missing, veterans service organizations, military units, schools, and private citizens to display them on Recognition Day.”
Ann Mills-Griffiths, the CEO and Chairman of the Board for the National League of POW/MIA Families; retired Air Force Col. Michael Brazelton, a Vietnam veteran and former POW; Terrence Hayes, the National Director of Communications for the Veterans of Foreign Wars; and Wade Ishimoto of the Special Operations and Special Forces Association unveiled the poster, a significant part of DPAA’s effort to spread the word about POW/MIA Recognition Day.
“I think it’s crucial,” said Mills-Griffiths. “What’s important is the message it sends both internationally and domestically, and including to all of our troops around the world that are now serving, that if something happens to them, if they get captured or are missing, our nation is not just going to walk away and forget them. We’re determined to stand with and behind them.”
Brazelton said it helps the public become invested in the mission to recover the unaccounted for.
“I think it helps remind the public in general that we still have MIAs that have to be accounted for,” said Brazelton. “I think public awareness is necessary, really, to get good public support for what we do.”
National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.
A national-level ceremony is held on every National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Traditionally held at the Pentagon, it features members from each branch of military service and participation from high-ranking officials.
In addition to the national-level ceremony, observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans' facilities.
No matter where they are held, these National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those who were held captive and returned, as well as those who remain missing.
If you would like to order the 2020 POW/MIA Recognition Day poster, you can do so on the DPAA website at https://www.dpaa.mil/Families/Posters/.