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  • Writer's pictureJim Strawn

Roark-Sullivan to Host POW-MIA Ceremony at Live on the Levee

Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center is hosting a POW-MIA Ceremony at 7:25 p.m. at Haddad Riverfront Park on September 24, 2021 in conjunction with the Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee. It is Roark-Sullivan Night at the Levee.

A POW-MIA 50th Anniversary Flag will be presented to the veterans of Roark-Sullivan.

Below is the history of the flag.

We hope to see everyone at the ceremony on Friday.

In 1970, Mrs. Michael Hoff, an MIA wife and member of the National League of POW/MIA Families, recognized the need for a symbol of our POW/MIAs. Prompted by an article in the Jacksonville, Florida, Times-Union, Mrs. Hoff contacted Norman Rivkees, Vice President of Annin & Company, which had made a banner for the newest member of the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), as part of their policy to provide flags of all United Nations member states. Mrs. Hoff found Mr. Rivkees very sympathetic to the POW/MIA issue. He and an Annin advertising agency employee, Newt Heisley, designed a flag to represent our missing men.

Following approval by the League’s Board of Directors at a meeting held January 22-23, 1972, POW/MIA flags were manufactured for distribution. Wanting the widest possible dissemination and use of this symbol to advocate for improved treatment for and answers on American POW/MIAs, no trade mark or copyright was sought. As a result, widespread use of the League’s POW/MIA flag is not restricted legally. The large volume of commercial production and sales now required to meet demands of federal and state laws does not benefit the League financially, though Annin & Company did contribute a modest amount on one occasion.

On March 9, 1989, an official League flag – flown over the White House on National POW/MIA Recognition Day 1988 – was installed in the US Capitol Rotunda as a result of legislation passed overwhelmingly on a bipartisan basis during the 100th Congress. In a demonstration of further bipartisan Congressional support, the leadership of both Houses hosted the installation ceremony, at which League Executive Director Ann Mills-Griffiths delivered remarks representing the POW/MIA families.

The League’s POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever displayed in the US Capitol Rotunda where it stands as a powerful symbol of America’s determination to account for US personnel still missing and unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. On August 10, 1990, the 101st Congress passed US Public Law 101-355, which recognized the League’s POW/MIA flag and designated it “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, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation”.

The importance of the POW/MIA flag lies in its continued visibility, a constant reminder of the plight of America’s UNRETURNED VETERANS. Other than "Old Glory," the League’s POW/MIA flag is the only flag ever to fly over the White House, displayed since 1982 in this place of honor on National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

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