Government Neighbors

Area Veteran Advocates For Display Of POW/MIA Flags Under Every American Flag

One local veteran is on a mission.

Credit: Submitted

A Bucks County Vietnam War veteran is committed to seeing the POW/MIA flag flown below every American flag in the country, and he’s on a mission to make it happen.

Bensalem Township resident Alan Micklin has taken it upon himself to encourage everyone, especially local governments, fire companies, and schools, to fly the POW/MIA flag as an honor to the 81,000 American soldiers who remain missing.

Federal law requires POW/MIA flags to be flown at federal facilities, and state law requires Pennsylvania facilities to fly the flag. However, there’s no requirement for county and municipal governments and school districts to fly the POW/MIA flag.

Under federal law, the POW/MIA flag must be smaller than the U.S. flag and it is generally flown below or next to the American flag, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Micklin said the POW/MIA flag is a sign of respect and remembrance for those who served and never came home and their families. He added that the flag is also a sign of support for those veterans who deal with the impacts of wars once they come home.

Micklin served with the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army and took part in special operations in Vietnam, a war zone that saw its share of death and where many American warfighters remain missing.

As part of his mission, Micklin has written to news organizations around the area and country. He’s also been reaching out to local officials across Bucks County to get POW/MIA flags flying, if they’re not already.

A POW/MIA flag flying in Bensalem Township.
Credit: Alan Micklin

Micklin shared the praise for Bensalem Township, Bristol Township, and Wrightstown Township, which fly the POW/MIA flag. He said Bensalem Township Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, Bucks County Free Library CEO Martina Kominiarek, Bucks County Veterans Affairs Director Matthew Allen, Wrightstown Township Manager Stacey Mulholland were quick to support his mission.

Micklin’s efforts have paid off with government buildings and volunteer fire companies putting up the POW/MIA flag, and he hopes more follow.

“I drove by [one government] building, and I said to myself, ‘where the hell is the flag?'” Micklin said, recalling an incident that kicked his efforts into high gear.

“Many people are oblivious to this,” he said. “This POW flag represents those who have not been accounted for to this day.”

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, POW/MIA Recognition Day will be recognized on Friday, September 15.

File photo.

Micklin, who is in his 80s, hopes his mission continues gaining steam.

“I may be long gone, but I want to the see the POW/MIA flag flown below every American flag in the country,” Micklin said.

He added: “My satisfaction from this is that for every flag that goes up, it is a pat on my back. That’s the way I look at it.”

The National Park Service provided the below history of the POW/MIA flag:

In 1971, Mrs. Michael Hoff, a Missing in Action (MIA) wife and a member of the National League of Families, recognized the need for a symbol of our Prisoners of War/Missing in Action (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, as a part of their policy to provide flags to all UN member nations. Mrs. Hoff found Mr. Rivkees very sympathetic to the POW/MIA issue, and he, along with Annins advertising agency, designed a flag to represent our missing men and women. Following League approval, the flags were manufactured for distribution.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.