Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States, a federal (national) holiday to remember those soldiers (members of the military) who have died in active military service (died while fighting as a soldier).
During the Vietnam War (fought during the 1960s and 1970s), there were many American soldiers who became prisoners of war or POWs – those who are held by the enemy and not allowed to leave during a war. Some soldiers were missing in action or MIA – those whose whereabouts (location) was unknown.
A special POW/MIA flag was created to honor and remember POWs and MIAs, and to remind Americans back home (in the United States) of the need to find out the fates (what happened to a person, or how a person died) of the men and women who serve in the military during wartime.
The POW/MIA flag is black and white. It has a silhouette (an outline drawing) of a man, a watch tower (a tall structure that guards sit in to watch what happens in a prison and make sure prisoners do not escape), and barbed wire (thin lines of sharp metal used to make fences that people cannot cross).
“POW MIA” is written on top, and the phrase “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN” is written on the bottom.
The POW/MIA flag is flown (placed on a pole for others to see) on six special days in the U.S.: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, and National POW/MIA Recognition Day (September 15th).
It is also flown at many military installations (places where members of the military work), police stations, fire stations, and similar places.
In addition, military mess halls (cafeterias; large dining rooms with long tables) often leave one table and chair empty, draped (covered with a cloth) with the POW/MIA flag to serve as a reminder of the soldiers who are missing and symbolize (represent) a chair waiting for their return.
~ ESLPod Team