POW MIA Flags Collection


Designed in 1972, the powerful symbol of the silhouette of a gaunt soldier against a guard tower and barbed wire is a reminder to all Americans not to forget those who have not returned home from war. It has become the most recognized American symbol of the courage and sacrifice of those who have not been able to come home from the Vietnam War, but also the men and women unaccounted for from WWII, Korean War and other conflicts since then.

The genesis of the POW-MIA Flags Collection came from the determined spark of Mary Hoff, wife of a missing soldier from the Vietnam War. She saw the need for a symbol that would help keep alive the memory of those who had gone missing and lost their lives in combat, both in America and around the world.

Honoring Heroes: Explore the POW-MIA Flags Collection

She read a newspaper article that praised Annin & Co. for the design and manufacture of newer United Nations member flags, and contacted Annin’s VP of Sales, Norman Rivkkes. He commissioned graphic designer Newt Heisley to sketch a design for a POW/MIA flag, and that was the beginning of one of the most recognizable and powerful US symbols.

The National League of Families approved the flag in January 1972 and it was produced for distribution. To allow for the widest possible dissemination and use of the symbol, it was not trademarked or copyrighted. Today, the 3’x5’ flag is flown on government buildings and private properties across the country to symbolize citizen concern for the military men and women who have not been able to return home from the battlefields of Southeast Asia.