Many of the flags of the United States of America are respected and valued as symbols of importance and respect. But one flag that needs more honor is the flag representing those who were and are Prisoners of War (POW) or Missing in Action (MIA). Though the POW/MIA flag is recognized in our great state of Ohio, we have no statewide specific guidelines or laws regarding when and where it should be flown.

The only current legislation regarding the flag is at the federal level. There are some federal buildings—like the U.S. Post Office—that must fly the POW/MIA flag on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, and National POW/MIA Recognition Day. However, the lack of a relevant law on a statewide level has resulted in the POW/MIA flag being carried at a distance during events such as Memorial Day ceremonies. That’s why the Ohio House recently passed House Bill 254, the POW/MIA Remembrance Act. I supported House Bill 254 because I strive to more appropriately recognize those who were and are unable to return home.

In order to properly represent the flag and those for whom it stands, the act requires the flag to be raised and flown at specific state buildings on the days previously mentioned. In contrast, with a flag that is kept at a distance, raising it expresses respect and value for those who sacrificed themselves for their fellow Americans.

There are a great number of Americans who were or are currently POWs or MIA. Paying true respect to their flag is the undeniably right thing for our state to do. It not only honors the memory of those who were lost, but it assists in providing recognition that we shall never forget them. I am privileged to have a small part in paying respect to these brave men and women, who are heroes.

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