August 21, 1987

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Perhaps no American could cherish our country's liberty more dearly than those who have defended it and in doing so have paid the price of capture and imprisonment. We take solemn inspiration and resolve from the sacrifices of brave Americans who have endured captivity for their allegiance to our beloved land and our ideals. Their dignity, faith, and valor remind us of the allegiance we owe our Nation and its defenders.

We also take inspiration from the courage of the families of those who remain missing or unaccounted for. The fortitude they display in the face of uncertainty is heroic, like the acts of those whose fates they seek to learn. We as a Nation will not rest in our efforts to secure the release of any U.S. personnel who may still be held against their will, to obtain the fullest possible accounting of those still missing, to repatriate all recoverable American remains, and to relieve the suffering of the families.

The P.O.W./M.I.A. issue will continue to be a matter of the highest national priority until it is resolved. To symbolize our national commitment, the P.O.W./M.I.A. Flag will fly over the White House, the Departments of State and Defense, the Veterans Administration, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on September 18, 1987. It will also fly over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

To recognize the special debt of gratitude all Americans owe to those who sacrificed their freedom in the service of our country and to reaffirm our commitment to their courageous families, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 49, has designated September 18, 1987, as "National POW/MIA Recognition Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this occasion.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Friday, September 18, 1987, as National P.O.W./M.I.A. Recognition Day. I call upon all Americans to join in honoring all former American prisoners of war, those still missing, and their families who have made extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country. I also call upon State and local officials and private organizations to observe this day with every appropriate ceremony and activity.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 10:45 a.m., August 24, 1987

Note: The proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on August 22.