POW/MIA Recognition Day takes place on the third Friday of every September, a date that’s not associated with any particular war.
Resolutions making it official were passed by Congress and the president in 1979 after the families of the more than 2,500 Vietnam War POW/MIAs pushed for full accountability.
The point of POW/MIA Recognition Day is to ensure that America remembers and shows that it stands behind people who serve, and to make sure the nation does everything it can to account for those who have never returned.
The remains of almost 82,000 Americans are still missing, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).
The DPAA reports that the numbers of missing soldiers from conflicts as:
•73,515 from World War II (an approximate number due to limited or conflicting data).
•7,841 from the Korean War.
•1,626 from the Vietnam War.
•126 from the Cold War.
•6 from conflicts since 1991.
The DPAA further denotes that about 75 percent of those missing Americans are somewhere in the Asia-Pacific region. More than 41,000 have been presumed lost at sea.
Efforts are constant to find those men, identify them and bring them home. For example, the DPAA said that in the past year it has accounted for 41 men missing during the Korean War; 10 had been previously buried as unknowns, 26 were from remains turned over by North Korea in the 1990s, 1 was from a recovery operation, and 4 were combinations of remains and recovery operations.
Each year, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund also honors these lost soldiers along with the National League of POW/MIA Families by hosting a Candle Remembrance at the Vietnam Memorial. It is a unique way to remember the more than 1,500 still missing and otherwise unaccounted-for, as well as their families. Friday Sept. 17, 2021, Houston’s American Legion Post 41 will be observing POW/MIA Recognition Day at the veterans memorial in front of the Texas County Administration Building in Houston. At noon, Post 41 personnel will implement the Empty Chair Ceremony to call attention to Americans still unaccounted for from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Wa, and other conflicts. The public is invited to attend as an American Legion Color Guard, Rifle Team, Service Flag Team and several members of Post 41 will honor and remember those who have been left behind.