In honor of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, the City of Mesa raised the POW/MIA flag to join the American flag in front of Mesa City Plaza at 20 E. Main St.
"I am proud that Mesa is a part of the momentum to recognize American soldiers that were prisoners or who went missing during war," Mayor John Giles said. "This flag is a symbol of their sacrifice and a reminder that not every soldier comes home."
The ceremony was dedicated to Mesa resident, U.S. Army Captain Paul Jennings Bates, Jr. who went missing in action in Vietnam on Aug. 10, 1971.
There are 15 members of the United States Armed Forces that are currently missing in action who are from Arizona. Nationwide, that number rises to 1,594.
The idea for the flag was formed in 1970 by Mrs. Michael Huffman, an MIA wife and member of the National League of POW/MIA Families. In 1972, the logo and flag were available for manufacturing and distribution without a copyright to allow for maximum exposure. By 1989, the flag was installed at the White House and now it flies at many locations in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country.
"As a veteran, I can't tell you how happy I am that we are finally recognizing our men and women that have fallen prey to our nation's enemies," District 6 Councilmember Kevin Thompson said. "Whether WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or Desert Storm, we owe it to those brave warriors and their families to never forget the sacrifice they made to keep America free. We can find solace in the words spoken by Sir Winston Churchill in August 1940 when he said, 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.'"
In addition to the flag raising, on Sept. 17 at the Mesa City Council meeting, Mayor John Giles proclaimed Sept. 21, 2018 National POW/MIA Recognition Day in Mesa. There was also a Missing Man table on display in the lobby of Mesa City Plaza from Sept. 18 - Sept. 21.
Contact: Steve Wright