“Let the world give ear. Warriors have fallen and not returned home. Warriors remain captive and have not been accounted for. Though I have said these words before, and sadly, will have to say them again, they will always be new to my lips and bitter to my tongue. Let the ears that hear these words hear them as if for the first time, for they must be said and repeated until all our warriors are home.”
- Air Force Chaplain Capt. Craig H. Nakagawa
The National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia was incorporated in the District of Columbia on May 28, 1970. Voting membership is comprised of wives, children, parents, siblings and other close relatives of Americans who were or are listed as Prisoners of War (POW), Missing in Action (MIA), Killed in Action/Body not Recovered (KIA/BNR) and returned American Vietnam War POWs. Associate membership is comprised of POW/MIA and KIA/BNR relatives who do not meet voting membership requirements, veterans and other concerned citizens. The League, a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)3, humanitarian organization (FEIN #23-7071242) is financed by contributions from the families, veterans and others. The League’s sole purpose is to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving our nation during the Vietnam War.
The League originated on the west coast in the late 1960s. Believing that the US Government’s policy of keeping a low profile on the POW/MIA issue while urging family members to refrain from publicly discussing the problem was unjustified, the wife of a ranking POW initiated a loosely organized movement that evolved into the National League of POW/MIA Families. In October 1968, the first POW/MIA story was published. As a result of that publicity, the families began communicating with each other, and the group grew in strength from 50 to 100, to 300, and kept growing. Small POW/MIA family groups flooded the North Vietnamese delegation in Paris with telegraphic inquiries regarding the prisoners and missing, the first major activity in which hundreds of families participated.
Eventually, the necessity for formal incorporation was recognized. In May 1970, a special adhoc meeting of the families was held at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, at which time the League’s charter and by-laws were adopted. Elected by the voting membership, now numbering approximately 1,000, a seven-member Board of Directors meets regularly to determine League policy and direction. Board Members, Regional Coordinators, responsible for activities in multi-state areas, and State Coordinators represent the League in most states.
The POW/MIA flag is an American flag designed as a symbol of citizen concern about United States military personnel taken as prisoners of war (POWs) or listed as missing in action (MIA).
The POW/MIA flag was created by the National League of Families and officially recognized by the Congress in conjunction with the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue, "as 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 original design for the flag was created by William Graham Wilkin III. The National League of Families then-national coordinator, POW wife Evelyn Grubb, oversaw its development and also campaigned to gain its widespread acceptance and use by the United States government and also local governments and civilian organizations across the United States.