red, white, and blue star with initials B V A

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 through a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter after Congress passed a resolution making the recognition day official. The actions responded to the push for full accountability on the part of the families of the more than 2,500 Vietnam War POW/MIAs at the time. 

In addition to a national-level ceremony held earlier today at the Pentagon, observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day were held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency indicates more than 81,600 Americans remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf War and other conflicts. Since President Carter’s original proclamation, each subsequent U.S. President has issued an annual proclamation commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day. To read this year’s White House proclamation released yesterday, click here.