Lipinski Introduces Resolution Honoring National POW/MIA Recognition Day (September 16, 2010)

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-03) introduced H. Res. 1630, which calls on all Americans to honor National POW/MIA Recognition Day and expresses the nation's gratitude to the tens of thousands of service members who endured unimaginable privation as prisoners of war or who served and sacrificed in defense of our freedom but tragically never returned from the battlefield.

"Each National POW/MIA Recognition Day, America renews its vow to leave no service member behind," Congressman Lipinski said. "So long as members of our Armed Forces remain unaccounted for, we must expend every effort to bring them home to the country in whose defense they fought and sacrificed. This is a solemn and unbreakable promise, upon which our men and women in uniform depend. In fulfilling it, we pay tribute to their extraordinary courage, patriotism, and fortitude. I hope that this resolution will increase awareness of the importance of honoring our prisoners of war and our missing troops, and that in the future many more people across the country will mark this day by flying the indelible black and white POW/MIA flag as a reminder of the sacrifices made by generations of men and women in order to preserve our freedom."

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is the third Friday of September. This year, it falls on September 17.

More than 138,000 American service members who fought in World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom were detained or interned as POWs, many suffering and thousands dying from starvation, forced labor, and severe torture. An additional 84,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in these wars remain listed by the Defense Department as unaccounted for today.

H. Res. 1630 calls on all Americans "to recognize National POW/MIA Recognition Day with appropriate remembrances, ceremonies, and activities"; formally recognizes that National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of six days on which the POW/MIA flag is to be flown over specified federal facilities, national cemeteries, military installations, and post offices; expresses the nation's gratitude to American prisoners of war; honors the 84,000 service members who are missing and their families; thanks national POW/MIA organizations for their untiring efforts; and applauds those engaged in accounting for missing members of the Armed Forces. It also recognizes that there remain today members of the Armed Forces being held captive in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As we express our deepest thanks to all those who did not return home, as well as to those whose homecoming followed months or years of the harshest treatment at the hands of the enemy, it is particularly important that we do not forget the pain their families have suffered," Congressman Lipinski said. "To live without knowing a loved one's fate, or to be deprived of the knowledge of their final resting place, is a terrible and haunting experience. We must make sure that the POW/MIA flag's statement, 'You are not forgotten,' applies to the families of our POWs and MIAs, just as it does to the members of our Armed Forces."

Congressman Lipinski is the author of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 that led the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command to undertake a six-week search for the remains of hundreds of missing Marines and sailors killed in the bloody World War II Battle of Tarawa in the Pacific. He is also working to ensure that the Department of Defense complies with language included in the defense authorization act that directs the Pentagon to develop a coordinated program to pursue a more comprehensive approach to missing-in-action recovery efforts.

Click here to read a copy of the resolution.

(September 16, 2010)