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US & POW/MIA Flags: POW/MIA Flag Law (Public Law 105-85)

Many of you have asked for information on Public Law 105-82, which requires certain Federal Facilities to fly the POW-MIA flag on certain days. This law was signed into law on November 18, 1997.

Let's all be vigilant - Stop by your local Federal facilities such as the U.S. Post Office a few days before designated POW-MIA flag days, and remind them to fly the flag. And if you see a that a Federal building is not flying the POW-MIA flag in plain view on specified days, give them a copy of this law, and insist that they comply.

Today the POW/MIA flag is flying below the American flag at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) and the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC.

PUBLIC LAW 105-85 (Section 1082) Requires the POW-MIA flag to be displayed each year on POW-MIA flag days at specified Federal buildings, memorials, national cemeteries, Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, and post offices.

(a) REQUIRED DISPLAY- The POW-MIA flag shall be displayed at the locations specified in subsection (c) on POW-MIA flag display days. Such display shall serve (1) as the symbol of the Nation's concern and commitment to achieving the fullest possible accounting of Americans who, having been prisoners of war or missing in action, still remain unaccounted for, and (2) as the symbol of the Nation's commitment to achieving the fullest possible accounting for Americans who in the future may become prisoners of war, missing in action, or otherwise unaccounted for as a result of hostile action.


1) For purposes of this section, POW-MIA flag display days are the following:

(A) Armed Forces Day, the third Saturday in May.
(B) Memorial Day, the last Monday in May.
(C) Flag Day, June 14.
(D) Independence Day, July 4.
(E) National POW-MIA Recognition Day.
(F) Veterans Day, November 11.

(2) In addition to the days specified in paragraph (1), POW-MIA flag display days include--

(A) in the case of display at medical centers of the Department of Veterans Affairs (required by subsection (c)(7)), any day on which the flag of the United States is displayed; and
(B) in the case of display at United States Postal Service post offices (required by subsection (c)(8)), the last business day before a day specified in paragraph (1) that in any year is not itself a business day.

(c) LOCATIONS FOR FLAG DISPLAY- The locations for the display of the POW-MIA flag under subsection (a) are the following:

(1) The Capitol.
(2) The White House.
(3) The Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
(4) Each national cemetery.
(5) The buildings containing the official office of--

(A) the Secretary of State;
(B) the Secretary of Defense;
(C) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and
(D) the Director of the Selective Service System.

(6) Each major military installation, as designated by the Secretary of Defense.
(7) Each medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(8) Each United States Postal Service post office.

(d) COORDINATION WITH OTHER DISPLAY REQUIREMENT- Display of the POW-MIA flag at the Capitol pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (c) is in addition to the display of that flag in the Rotunda of the Capitol pursuant to Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 of the 101st Congress, agreed to on February 22, 1989 (103 Stat. 2533).

(e) DISPLAY TO BE IN A MANNER VISIBLE TO THE PUBLIC- Display of the POW-MIA flag pursuant to this section shall be in a manner designed to ensure visibility to the public.

(f) LIMITATION- This section may not be construed or applied so as to require any employee to report to work solely for the purpose of providing for the display of the POW-MIA flag.

(g) POW-MIA FLAG DEFINED- As used in this section, the term `POW-MIA flag' means the National League of Families POW-MIA flag recognized officially and designated by section 2 of Public Law 101-355 (36 U.S.C. 189).

(h) REGULATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the head of each department, agency, or other establishment responsible for a location specified in subsection (c) (other than the Capitol) shall prescribe such regulations as necessary to carry out this section.

(i) PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OF FLAGS- Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of General Services shall procure POW-MIA flags and distribute them as necessary to carry out this section.

If any of these days falls on a non-business day, postal facilities are required to display the POW/MIA flag on the last business day before the designated day, as directed by Postal Bulletin #21967, dated March 12, 1998.

Related Links

Public Law 105-85

Public Law 107-323 (POW/MIA flag flys as it should at the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial due to the passing of this bill. Rolling Thunder was heavily involved in rallying the community behind the passing of this bill.)

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